BAZ accused of unfair licencing

via BAZ accused of unfair licencing – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 10, 2015

BROADCASTING Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) chief executive officer Obert Muganyura was yesterday grilled in Parliament over unfair licencing of commercial radio stations, and the snail’s pace in issuing community radio licences.


Muganyura appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services where he was bombarded with questions on how some companies were issued with radio licences.

He also explained that the term of the BAZ board expired in March.

Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi said there was favouritism and monopolistic tendencies in the issuance of commercial radio licences.

“AB Communications which already has a licence for ZiFM was issued with two more licences in Masvingo and Gweru and you have given Zimpapers more licences when they have Star FM,” Maridadi said.

“In Kariba Kingstons was given Nyaminyami FM and another station in Harare — and it seems government now has a monopoly because Zimpapers and Kingstons are under the Ministry of Information.”

Magwegwe MP Anele Ndebele chipped in: “And what was the justification of issuing two licences to Kingstons which has over the years failed even to run bookshops and sell pens?”

Muganyura said BAZ acted in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act which did not hinder any interested company from applying for many licences.

Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami then asked Muganyura to brief the committee on whether church organisations that were broadcasting had been issued with licences.

“These church stations are actually exploiting loopholes in the Broadcasting Services Act and they are actually broadcasting in Zimbabwe using platforms from outside the country,” the BAZ boss said.

Zvishavane Ngezi MP John Holder and Gutu South MP Paul Chimedza demanded to know if BAZ was abreast with technology given new advances where people could stream live on the Internet and use satellite dishes to pick other stations.

Muganyura said the digitisation programme would ensure they were techno savvy and help close the gaps taken advantage of by so-called pirate radio stations.

Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa said BAZ was as good as irrelevant because they were “broadcasting to themselves” and had no effective equipment and means to monitor broadcasting, leaving a lot of loopholes.

Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire said BAZ was taking too long to start licencing community radio stations after Muganyura had disclosed they would begin the process in March after they were through with monitoring the digitisation programme.

Muganyura said 17 licences were still open for commercial radio after eight were taken.