I don’t know if this was as big a problem on all radio stations but I do know it was crazy on Star FM. It’s like they created a product just for prophets and funny guys who are full of miracles. It was annoying and disturbing. Every few minutes there would be some advert, infomercial or programme promising miracles from prophet such and such or sekuru nhingi…
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has stepped in and directed radio and TV stations to stop broadcasting adverts from faith based healers. The CEO of BAZ wrote the following letter to all radio and television stations:
6 April 2018
BROADCASTING OF FAITH AND TRADITIONAL HEALING ADVERTISING
Please kindly be advised that the Authority, has observed with concern the use of broadcast stations as platforms for advertising faith and traditional healing powers and the use of scientifically untested methods of treatment and healing by certain individuals and churches to the public, including the use of unverifiable testimonies.
This observation by the Authority Is supported by numerous complaints by members of the public to the Radio and Television Stations as revealed by the Stations’ complaints registers and social media.
Needless to point out that for some stations, these broadcasts have impacted the expected Wider focus of the stations to inform, educate and entertain the public, and, rather. emerged priority programming to the disappointment of viewers and listeners.
To this extent, considering the Authority, mandate to promote the interests of consumers in respect of the quality of broadcasting services provided by licensees, account being taken of the prohibition in terms of paragraph 27(4)(c) of the Broadcasting Services (Licensing and Content) Regulations, 2004. of advertisement which misleads the public and, in the interest of protecting members of the public who are likely to believe in whatever comes our or Radio or Television, the Authority hereby directs all Radio and Television Stations to cease the advertising of faith healing powers and the use of scientifically untested methods of treatment and healing by individuals or churches including infomercials.
Please. kindly note that this directive does not stop the broadcasting of social discussion programmes or debates on these issues.
Be guided accordingly.
The dangers of the ban
As with all things there are pitfalls down this road. I am obviously happy about this ban but that is because I am in agreement with BAZ and I was tired of the adverts. However, this is censorship and it’s a slippery slope. We may celebrate BAZ for exercising this power today but that then sets a precedence and we may find BAZ now unilaterally dictating content: that’s scary.
Life is one huge paradox, this is an example of it. I think there was a lot of abuse with the prophet or is it profit programming but having a government body dictate what airs on radio could be a problem in the future. I hope we don’t get there. Frankly, for now I don’t care, I am happy to see the profits go…
It’s a good thing that BAZ has explicitly communicated that discussions around religion etc are still permitted. Other countries (the developed ones even) are slowly outlawing religion itself….
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