‘Biased’ ZBC taken to court over licences

via ‘Biased’ ZBC taken to court over TV, radio licences | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu  November 27, 2013 

A senior MDC-T official, Jessie Majome, has approached the Constitutional Court seeking the endorsement of her decision not to pay for radio and television licences to the ‘biased’ Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBC). Majome, who is MP for Harare West, is refusing to pay for licences because ZBC is ‘openly biased towards ZANU PF’ and is also ‘anti-MDC’.

In July ZBC inspectors, accompanied by the police, visited Majome’s home and warned her that she would be prosecuted for not paying for her licences. But Majome has remained defiant since and has also sought the court’s intervention in the matter.

A Daily News report on Wednesday said Majome wants the court to declare that ‘noncompliance with sections of the Broadcasting Services Act does not constitute a criminal offence.’ In her court papers Majome argues that those particular sections are ‘unconstitutional’ and that the state broadcaster is infringing her right of ‘freedom of association by virtue of partisan programming’.

The Harare West legislator argues that ZBC ‘compels’ her to ‘associate with ZANU PF by forcing her to know and hear at least something about ZANU PF’ each time she tunes to radio and TV. Majome says it is her right not to associate with a party she is ‘personally and officially opposed to’.

On Wednesday Majome told SW Radio Africa that she was waiting for the court to allocate a date for the hearing of the matter. She said her lawyers were still preparing the heads of argument.

Majome remained defiant saying paying licences to ZBC was akin to funding ZANU PF’s propaganda campaign. She said ZANU PF should fundraise like other parties and not expect the public to pay subscriptions to the party under the guise of paying for licences. She also called for plurality in the broadcasting sector saying ZBC was a ‘complete disaster’.

Her comments come at a time when the government is being called upon to open up the airwaves to multiple players.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is responsible for licencing new players, but their board was handpicked by the then former information minister, Webster Shamu, and is comprised of ZANU PF allies and retired army generals.

Although BAZ recently called for applications for new radio licences media players are skeptical. Outgoing executive director of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, Takura Zhangazha, recently told SW Radio Africa that while there was a ‘definite’ intention to open up the airwaves the gesture was not for the furtherance of human rights and democracy.

The day before the BAZ call for radio applications Supa Mandiwanzira, the Deputy Minister of Information, told the Senate that government was in the process of licensing new radio stations ‘to get rid of pirate radio stations that have been spawning anti-Zimbabwe sentiments.

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe expressed its concern over the, ‘authorities contradictory action claiming to be interested in opening up the broadcasting sector, while the covert motive appears to the need to get rid of the so-called pirate radio stations.’



  • comment-avatar
    mwana wevhu 8 years ago

    Surely ZBC cannot be left to commit blatant fraud of collecting fees for a non existent service.They know who & where to send their single licence bill!!!

  • comment-avatar

    To hel wth zbc neni handbhadhar koz i cant fund my oponent

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    Disgruntled 8 years ago

    I also think it is not worthy paying ZBC licenses. Each time I have a problem with the police on this, I would rather keep paying the fines to the police than pay for the ZBC license.

    I hope the ConCourt will rule in favour of the MP. Why don’t they create ZBC decoders which does not force everyone to buy licenses and see how many will ever pay for that. Even ZANU-PF guys do not want to pay for ZBC licenses. I wonder why we are forced

    • comment-avatar
      Tsuro Magen'a 8 years ago

      Forget them ruling in favour of the MP..remember this is another Zanu Extension….everything is ZANU…Zanu Police, Zanu CIO, Zanu Army, Zanu Parastatals, Zanu Reserve Bank, Zanu Schools, Zanu Land, Zanu Bindura University, Zanu Diamonds, Zanu you name it. That’s why, though a Christian I advocate that we should apply all tricks to avoid paying our taxes and licences to this group of Mafia, who now hold us as captives and rob us our hard earned monies.

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    Bruce 8 years ago

    no need to pay really. beside let zbc be on satelite dish and limit those who can not pay to them. then they will see that no one will ever pay since no one wants to listen to rubbish of zanu pf.

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    Hwese 8 years ago

    What is there to pay for. Moyo wamakaisa pa infomation futi kuti a broadcater kongonya the whole day, tongai tione. Muchasunga nyika yese. Sungai nema purisa acho haachadi nonsense ye zbc( Zibenzi chairo.

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    they should be suing even the journalists giving us this information as well.

    this country is povert stricken in terms of proffesionalism.what makes this website different of zbc, except for that you are against zanu pf.

    You never give us any ground to think or analyse and you are ideological bullying

  • comment-avatar
    Dayford 8 years ago

    Its about time all viewers who do not subscribe to Zanu PF stop paying your licence. Hats off to this legislatoer,,you do have the balls.

    • comment-avatar
      lawyer 8 years ago

      Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an article minus anti government propaganda.
      You ,aynot with resprct complainabout pro government journalists withourtt simultasneously complaining about pro MDC journalists.
      What we need are responsible journalists who are apolitical, deal with national issues, promote the country, promote development and thingds of import to all.
      Legally, there is no problem with radio/tv licenses even UK has a government station called the BBC – how much anti government propaganda do they broadcast? Tony Blair fired the BBC boss for a comment about him.
      Most countries have a national station, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to try and change the world because we voted for a politicalm party that lost the election.
      The next government will control ZBC and themn will the same fools say that’s fair.
      The problem is the journalists they have no ethics at all.
      We need to educate the journalist to research articles properly make them and their media totally responsible for any lies or propaganda with heavy fines and jail sentences ubless they can show why jourbnalists are a superior race that should be allowed to lie , cause panic or anything because they stupidly think the have freedom to do this.
      Our media in general is the worst in the world and needs attention, the problem is monitoring committee’s have journalist on the committee instead of ordinary citizens who are law abiding.
      So lets forget international custom of having a government national radio station funded by licences and deal with the journalist problem.
      A lawyer called the police names and got away with it – would we the general public? There lies the story we want to read.