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Zimbabwe: First independent TV station to air

Friday - 7/19/2013, 1:48pm  ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's first independent television station says it is going on air to challenge the 30-year state broadcasting monopoly controlled by President Robert Mugabe.

The new station is to begin broadcasting Friday evening. Mugabe's party said Friday it will take all measures to "cripple" what it calls a pirate station.

The station, known as 1st TV, is a satellite feed from outside Zimbabwe using a free network received by an estimated 700,000 homes across the nation.

The state Herald newspaper reported that George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, said South Africa will be asked to stop broadcasts believed to be beamed from there because they "hurt Zimbabwean interests" ahead of elections on July 31.

Mugabe's state television has about 350,000 peak hour evening viewers. The new station hopes to attract 3 million viewers.

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