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AT least 10 private television channels are set to be launched in Zimbabwe by mid-next year, and the country will meet the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union which set June 2015 as the deadline for all member nations to digitalise their broadcasting services, and therefore opening up the airwaves.

Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Supa Mandiwanzira said this in an interview in Chimanimani where he was attending the just-ended Chimanimani Arts Festival held in the mountainous district last weekend.

He said the ministry was ready and committed to switching off from analogue to digital and had already started working on achieving the landmark development by mobilising resources.

"We are expected to migrate from analogue to digital in line with the requirements of the ITU by June 17, 2015. We are at an advanced stage of mobilising funds to smoothly migrate to digital. We don't want a cultural invasion as a result of many channels, but the promotion of our culture and tradition as Zimbabweans. More channels will mean festivals like these will be broadcast live and messages about our own culture will be preached," he said.

He added that Zimbabwe has enough material to produce exciting channels such as art, music and wildlife among other things.

"We have exciting stuff in Zimbabwe. We have enough wildlife for documentaries. We have enough languages for the channels. This will create opportunities for more local movies, dramas and documentaries. This will also create value addition as people will get jobs. We will use the chance to build a strong economically viable arts and film industry. The channels will be filled with our own content," said Mandiwanzira.

The development is set to put to bed difficulties experienced through the present analogue system that has seen some parts of the country, particularly in rural areas either failing to acquire television signals or experiencing poor signals.

Mandiwanzira also toured various majestic features in Chimanimani such as the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls and challenged the media to popularise unexploited tourism sites in the district.

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