A notice in a local paper by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) announced that Zimpapers which owns eight newspapers across country is interested in owning a national commercial radio station.
Zimpapers owns the following newspapers; The Herald, weekly Sunday Mail, Sunday News, Chronicle, Manica Post, tabloid H-Metro, vernacular newspapers Kwayedza and Umthunya.
A statement in the state media issued by BAZ invited people who want to comment on Zimpapers’ application to call their office to register their views. BAZ gave people 14 days to submit their comments to their offices.
The BAZ which is the authority and licensing authority in the broadcasting sector advertised for interested broadcasting players to submit their applications to their offices.
On Tuesday the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said 15 aspiring radio stations submitted their applications to BAZ and if any of the applicants are given licences this will end state media stranglehold on the broadcasting sector. Radio Voice of the People is one of the 15 applicants.
“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) on 30 June 2011 said that a total of 15 aspiring radio broadcasters submitted applications for the two advertised free to air national commercial radio licenses. MISA-Zimbabwe has noted the requisite adverts by some prospective broadcasters in the national newspapers. These include Voxmedia Productions trading as Voice of People FM, Thonet Investments trading as Radio Africa, AB communications Pvt Ltd, Black Thing Communications and Seddon Investments,” MISA said.
“In terms of Section 10 Subsection 3 of the Broadcasting Services Act, applicants are required to publish their applications in a national paper within 7 days of submitting their applications. The processing of applications by the BAZ is upon proof of production of the advert. Members of the public are also given a 14 day window period to comment about the applications to the authority and lodge any objections about an applicant.”
The print media space in Zimbabwe has been opening in the past two years after the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to implement reforms in the media. Several newspapers have been issued with licenses but no new broadcasting player has been issued with a licence.