HARARE – An independent Zimbabwean TV station that went live in July has been yanked off air following funding challenges.
1st TV, which was beaming via satellite from South Africa, had hired top SW Radio Africa presenter Violet Gonda as the main anchor, but stopped its broadcasts on Saturday.
It went live a fortnight ahead of the crunch July 31 vote, courting the ire of top establishment officials.
George Charamba, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, claimed the station had been set up to “hurt Zimbabwean interests” and threatened to “cripple this pirate television broadcast station” by lodging a formal protest with the South African government.
Ist TV was headed by Andrew Chadwick, a former communications director for Morgan Tsvangirai and former Sky News correspondent.
“Eight weeks ago tonight, 1st TV launched its very first broadcast,” the TV station said in a statement yesterday.
“We were extremely proud to introduce the station and we remain proud of its achievements over the past two months.
“1st TV launched on the promise of one month’s financial support. We managed to extend that to two months.
“But as of now, we have to go off air while we raise more resources and source more programmes.”
The TV station said it will make a comeback soon.
“As Zimbabweans, you deserve a television channel that is of an international standard and caters to all your needs,” the statement said.
“That will be the 1st TV that we will bring back to you.”