Listeners licences for cellphone users?

via Listeners licences for cellphone users? | The Herald 14 November 2014 by Daniel Nemukuyu

Technological advancements have rendered sections of the Broadcasting Services Act requiring ZBC listeners to buy a receiver’s licence outmoded as that would mean mobile phones that receive radio or television signal must pay the national broadcaster for this, the Constitutional Court heard on Wednesday.

Advocate Ray Goba, who was challenging payment for ZBC listeners’ licences on behalf of Harare West legislator Ms Jessie Majome, said the laws had been overtaken by technological advancement and were now difficult to enforce.

Almost every adult Zimbabwean owns a cellphone that receives a ZBC radio signal, while others can watch television on some sophisticated gadgets other than radio and television sets. Police and ZBC agents are targeting radio and television sets in houses, lodges and cars, while leaving out those with cellphones and other sophisticated receivers.

Adv Goba said technically all cellphone users were committing an offence and that if the law enforcers were not being selective, they should arrest everyone in the country with such a gadget.

Responding to the argument, ZBC’s lawyer Mr Tazorora Musarurwa of Mambosasa Legal Practitioners, said the argument was flawed.

“I find the argument flawed because technology and the law have never moved hand in hand,” he said. “Technology moves faster and the issue complained of is more of a policy issue which should be left to policy-makers, legislators and others.”

Adv Goba also argued that ZBC was biased and did not meet the qualities of a public broadcaster, hence it did not deserve to levy licence fees. He said a public broadcaster must be impartial and not align itself with any section of the community.

But Mr Musarurwa said Ms Majome was not challenging the constitutionality of the laws, but the conduct of ZBC, which made the case non-constitutional.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with eight other judges, reserved judgement in the matter after hearing arguments from both lawyers.

Ms Majome is seeking to invalidate provisions of the broadcasting law that compel people to pay television and radio licences to ZBC.

She argued that instead of being a public broadcaster, ZBC was biased towards Zanu-PF and that it was not giving political parties equal coverage.


  • comment-avatar
    Bambazonke 6 years ago

    Ja ja let see the judges set a example bloody thieves

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    Doris 6 years ago

    Licenses for car radios, licenses for household listening devises, licenses for handheld walkie talkies, and now folks……..licenses for phones! No employment equals no taxes. How else are they going to get money in the coffers? Er, sorry….back pockets

  • comment-avatar

    Do not worry the end times for Zimbabwe are drawing nearer at a rapid rate!This is all crisis management ,which is just speeding up the demise of the country!The govt is desperate for money!But what they don’t realize is there is none left!They need to start thinking in a rational way as the world has changed globally!Stone age thinking is going to take us no where!

  • comment-avatar
    Timothy Nkomo 6 years ago

    Our country does not stop amazing.

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    Patriotic 6 years ago

    Seriously, receiving a signal does not mean one tune in and listen to the station. For God’s sake who is his/her sane mind would listen to ZBC or even watch ZTV? There are so many better options. Will never watch ZTV or listen to ZBC full stop. Theres ZiFM, Star FM so what the heck.