Zimbabwe profile - Media

  • 3 December 2014
  • From the section Africa
Newspaper readers
Image caption The main papers are state-owned and toe the government line

All broadcasters transmitting from Zimbabwean soil, and many of the main newspapers, toe the government line.

The main pro-government dailies, the Harare-based Herald and the Bulawayo-based Chronicle, are tightly controlled by the Information Ministry. The private press, which is relatively vigorous in its criticism of the government, has come under severe pressure.

In 2010, newly-licensed title NewsDay hit the streets, becoming the first privately-owned daily to publish in seven years. Several other papers followed. The private press also comprises several weeklies, including The Zimbabwean, which is produced in London and South Africa.

However, cover prices are beyond the reach of many readers and publishers have been hit by escalating costs.

Draconian laws

Draconian laws and institutions, along with prison sentences for "publishing false news", are used to clamp down on critical comment. Journalists who fail to register with a government body risk imprisonment.

Radio is the main source of information. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) operates TV and radio stations under the umbrella of state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH).

Two national private FM radio stations are licensed - one to a company owned by a supporter of Mr Mugabe, the other to a majority state-owned publisher.

Overseas-based radios transmit into Zimbabwe: Voice of the People, set up by former ZBC staff with funding from the Soros Foundation and a Dutch organisation, leases a shortwave transmitter in Madagascar.

From the US, government-funded Voice of America (VOA) operates Studio 7, which aims to be a source of "objective and balanced news".

Radio broadcasts by foreign stations deemed hostile to the government are subject to deliberate interference.

There were around 6.7 million internet users by November 2015 ( US-based Freedom House says the internet is nominally free from government interference. However, the medium is relatively expensive and prone to disruption because of power cuts.

The press



  • Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) - state-run, operates National FM, Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and S-FM
  • Star FM - operated by Zimpapers, publisher of government-owned The Herald
  • ZiFM Stereo - operated by AB Communications
  • SW Radio Africa - studio in London, broadcasts via shortwave and online to Zimbabwe
  • Voice of the People - broadcasts to Zimbabwe from hired shortwave transmitter on Madagascar
  • Studio 7 - based in Washington DC, via shortwave, mediumwave (AM) and online, operated by VOA
  • Radio Dialogue - based in Bulawayo, uses shortwave transmitter in South Africa