from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE Zimbabwean government is to license six new television stations in a historic move to liberalise the airwaves.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is set to issue the licences after it initially invited applications early this year for television, commercial and community radio stations.
This will end the monopoly enjoyed particularly by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) over the past 40 years.
“BAZ is a fully constituted body and is ready to discharge its mandate. A number of applications were received and from the 12 available, BAZ is ready to award six (TV stations),” Monica Mutsvanga, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services said.
She stated in response to questions during a parliamentary session on Thursday.
“They (BAZ) are working on it right and going through all the applications,” the minister said.
While the radio stations issue is also under consideration, Mutsvanga said BAZ was ready to award licences according to the available spectrum.
Zimbabwe is lagging behind its peers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region regarding the number of private players in the broadcasting sector.
This has also seen Zimbabwe lag behind in new broadcasting technologies as the world evolves towards the fourth industrial revolution.
The government has licensed one station so far, the Zimpapers-owned Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN), which operates from Herald House in Harare.
With the government also controlling Zimpapers, there is little difference in terms of content from ZBC, hence calls for the licensing of private players to add diversity.
– CAJ News