It has almost become a trend that when MPs ask sensitive issues, the national broadcaster crosses over to commentators who will be on stand-by or flights advertisements.
This comes at a time the State-run ZBCTV has been under attack for covering Zanu PF events only, while sidelining other political organisations.
On Wednesday, the national broadcaster crossed over four times to its presenter on stand-by after MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe asked, during a debate, what government was doing to ensure that children born during the Gukurahundi era get birth certificates.
The Gukurahundi massacre — which saw 20 000 civilians being murdered in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces — is a contentious and emotive issue.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday said: “The ZBC is in reality, a Zanu PF propaganda outlet. They have long since abrogated from their constitutional mandate of being a national broadcaster.”
“They are actually a partisan and extremely biased media organisation that operates virtually as an extension of the Zanu PF regime’s information and publicity department,” he said.
“As a national broadcaster, ZBCTV is expected to be non-partisan and serve members of the public equally, but have over the years been accused of serving the interests of the ruling party,” Gutu said.
“This is the main reason why ZBC has totally lost credibility among the majority of Zimbabweans who are now tuned in to satellite television.
“The ZBC is a complete and utter disgrace. We need a brand new, focused and non-partisan national broadcaster. The ZBC doesn’t fit into this bill,” he said.
A significant number of viewers, who have turned to satellite television, claim ZBC serves a certain group of citizens who are partisan.
“This is good evidence of a public media operating under the supervision of vicious jackals.
“The regime has instilled fear into public institutions to guard against delivery of truth to the news consumers,” Kurauone Chihwayi, spokesperson of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, said.
He said Zimbabwe is now a “hard-hat” area for professional journalists.
“The regime is now living in fear of the suffering people and media under its ambit.
“The calls for Robert Mugabe to step down are now deafening and making them quack for fear of the unknown.
“What is now certain is that the…Mugabe era will end in 2018. The censoring of Parly broadcasts is unacceptable because the people deserve fair play and fair treatment by institutions like the ZBC,” he said, adding that ZBC seems to take instructions from “unrepentant political crooks masquerading as a government of the people”.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume also said the national broadcaster is now acting as a barrier to free access to information by the general public.
“It is a praise and worship show which neither sees, hears nor speaks any evil against (President Robert) Mugabe and Zanu PF.
“They are not a public broadcaster but part of Zanu PF campaign machinery,” Mafume said.