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Issuance of community TV licences on cards in Zimbabwer

by Staff reporter
17 May 2022 at 06:33hrs | Views
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is set to start licensing community television stations following the successful licensing of community radio stations that have contributed to improving universal access to information across the country.

This came out yesterday during a mandatory meeting of the BAZ board with Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, in Harare.

The meeting aimed to discuss issues of progression of mandate, performance and challenges to ensure BAZ is operating in line with the Government policy.

BAZ chairman Mr Charles Manzi Sibanda said the plan to license community TV stations was part of the authority's strategic plan which had been constructed in line with the ministry's strategy. He said out of the 14 Community Radio Stations that were licensed across the country, only four had started broadcasting.

"As your board, we continue to capacitate through training the licensed community radio stations to enable them to come on air and become sustainable going forward. In the near future, the authority anticipates that Chimanimani Community Radio Station, Ndau Community Radio Station, in Chipinge, would also be officially opened," said Mr Sibanda.

"Thereafter, the focus would be on assisting Twasumpuka Community Radio covering Binga and surrounding areas to ensure that they also go on air. "The next important aspect would be that of finding ways to accommodate Community Television on which we will submit a paper, after finding ways of licensing them."

Mr Sibanda said the BAZ continued to play an oversight role to ensure those who had received licences comply with the conditions of their licences.

He expressed concern that some entities that had been licensed were yet to start broadcasting.

"We take note that most of the six entities licensed to provide TV services are yet to start broadcasting. We advise that their 18-month period will end in August and December 2022 respectively. We hope that all will be on air by that time and will do all things necessary to remind them of the requirements of law," added Mr Sibanda.

"The authority is also ensuring that all licensees and stakeholders are engaged and consulted. This enables them to provide feedback as well as advise the regulator on challenges faced in their operations and provide their input on  new regulations introduced by the authority.

"This ensures that the authority takes everyone on board and is moving together with industry needs and expectations."

One of the key elements for effective regulation of the broadcasting industry, said Mr Sibanda, was for BAZ to have enough resources to carry out its mandate.

But Mr Sibanda said State-owned entities, ZBC and Transmedia Corporation, were struggling to pay licence fees to BAZ.

"This led to the intervention of the Permanent Secretary some time in February this year that led to some payments being done to the authority by the two entities.

"The licence fees for previous years remain outstanding and we hope they will clear by the end of May 2022 as they had pledged to the Permanent Secretary. The authority will ensure that collection of outstanding licence fees that may be owing is done to ensure compliance with the law by licensees and also ensure the authority's operations are sustainable," he said.

In her address, Minister Mutsvangwa said there was need to ensure that everything is done for the benefit of everyone.

"If we consult all the time, we avoid misunderstandings and we ensure compliance with your strategy and what needs to be done at BAZ.

"The ministry is there to facilitate and provide policy guidance. It is my sincere hope that you are executing your strategy in line with NDS1 and Vision 2030 and constantly getting guidance from the ministry," she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa urged all parastatals and agencies under her ministry to take a consultative approach to ensure they comply with their mandates and achieve their objectives.

Source - The Chronicle
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