...new TV stations on airwaves by August?
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)’s call for television licences application lapsed today, June 30, with bids expected to be processed in the next few weeks, TellZim News can report.
The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday released a media briefing after a meeting of the national Covid-19 taskforce in which she wishes the new applicants well.
“Government has embarked on a media reform programme. This includes legislative reforms, media cultural reform and registering new players in television.
“I wish to inform the nation that the deadline for applicants to lodge their applications for television players is tomorrow, 30 June 2020. We take this opportunity to wish applicants all the best. The Second Republic means what it says on the media landscape reform,” she said.
In February, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) made a call for interested parties to make applications. This was after government promised that the country will have 12 new national free-to-air television channels by August this year.
A total of six of these channels will be owned by the state-controlled broadcaster ZBC while the remaining six will be run by private enterprise.
The application fee stood at a non-refundable $42 500, with the licence valid for a total of 10 years at a cost of $306 000 per year.
Meanwhile, government has also called for application for 10 language-based community radio stations which are expected to be based in areas perceived to be culturally marginalised.
Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) made history on June 07 when it because the first university to be awarded a campus radio licence.
With only one TV station, Zimbabwe’s broadcasting space is tightly controlled by BAZ which is a statutory body appointed by government in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA). This has seen the country’s broadcasting industry lagging behind its regional peers despite being one of only two African countries to have a TV station by 1958.
Provisions of the BSA allow interested players to apply only if and when BAZ has called for applications at moments it deems necessary.
Government has been accused of manipulating the authoritarian licensing regime to benefit only private players with deep political connections to the ruling Zanu PF party.