Harare, February 12, 2014 – The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services says it is concerned with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s slow processing and issuing out of new television and radio licences and failure by Transmedia to meet the government digitalisation deadline by December last year.
In an interview with the ZBC News after a familiarisation tour of BAZ and Transmedia offices, the Chairperson of the committee, Honourable William Dehwa said the visit to the two institutions has helped them appreciate the problems they are facing in executing their duties.
He said although there are a number of challenges the institutions are facing, among them shortages of funding, old and obsolete equipment and lack of skilled staff, more still needs to be done so that they are able to fulfill their mandate.
Giving an overview of operations at BAZ, the authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Obert Muganyura said ever since the authority was established in 2001, only two radio stations and one television station received their licences because most of the applicants did not meet the set criterion.
He said plans are underway for the authority to review television and radio licence fees in line with the current economic situation, but was quick to point out that if the fees are revised downwards treasury should avail more funds to enable the authority to execute its mandate.
Transmedia Chief Executive Officer, Ms Florence Sigudu Matambo told parliamentarians that if the organisation is to meet the 2015 digitalisation target there is need for funds to be availed in time.
She also said the organisation’s 2014 to 2015 budget stands at US$30 million, most of which will go towards purchase and installation of digital equipment.
The country’s digital television migration deadline is set at 17 June 2015.