The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has issued broadcast licences to six TV stations, bringing an end to the monopoly enjoyed by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) for 40 years.
Out of 14 stations that applied, licences have been awarded to state-controlled Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN); Rusununguko Media, trading as NRTV; Jester Media, trading as 3K TV; Acacia Media Group, trading as Kumba TV; Fairtalk Communications, trading as Ke Yona TV; and Channel Dzimbahwe, trading as Channel D.
BAZ chairman Charles Manzi Sibanda said: “The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe would like to express appreciation to all those who showed interest and, indeed, the general public for actively participating in this historic process of facilitating the opening up of broadcasting airwaves for multiplicity in television services.
“The process of licensing new television services has been completed and the authority processed the applications in terms of the requirements of the Broadcasting Services Act, including conducting public inquiries to determine applicants’ suitability to be issued with broadcasting services licences.”
The new licensees have 18 months to roll out their channels and go on air, in line with the Broadcasting Services Act. In the event of failure to broadcast, the licence or licences will be auctioned off to other applicants.
“The move is in fulfilment of the 2013 constitution and it also gives credence to the country’s push for media reforms,” Sibanda added.
Zimpapers Group CEO Pikirayi Deketeke said: “We’re both humbled and enthused by the authority’s recognition of the value that ZTN has added to Zimbabwe’s media landscape and the broader knowledge and information industry. It is testament to our capacity to deliver a world-class broadcasting service commensurate with the company’s existing investments in production infrastructure, skills and content production.”
Since July 2018, ZTN has been market-testing its channel, broadcasting via multiple digital media platforms. Its content comprises entertainment, sport, news and current affairs.
Rusununguko, meanwhile, is backed by the Zimbabwe National Army; Acacia is owned by former Zanu PF parliamentary hopeful Sharon Mugabe; Jester is part of the Daily News publishing company; and former ZBC chief Happison Muchechetere is behind Channel Dzimbahwe.
Prior to this, the Zimbabwe Television channel, run by the ZBC, was the sole national TV station operational in the country.
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