No ZBC Signal, No Licence Fee Payment – Mushohwe

By Dylan Murambgi

Harare, October 31, 2016 – INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, Chris Mushohwe says Zimbabweans who reside in areas which do not receive ZBC radio and television signals were not obliged under the country’s broadcasting laws to buy ZBC licences.

Mushohwe said this past week while responding to questions from backbenchers that the Government does not demand any viewer’s or listener’s licences from those in areas that have never been serviced by radio and television transmitters since independence.

“The Government does not demand licence fees from people who have radios and televisions in their houses yet there are no signals. However, there is need to confirm that these signals are not available,” Mushohwe said.

Some of the areas that have failed to receive ZBC signals include Kariba and Hurungwe in Mashonaland West, Binga (Matabeleland North) and Mwenezi in Masvingo.

Most of these areas depend on radio signals from neighbouring countries.

However, some of those with DSTV have been managing to tune in to ZBC TV via satellite, something that Mushohwe said was no excuse for not paying for radio licences.

“Watching ZTV through DSTV is a choice that an individual makes.  However, the fact remains that ZTV is available for you and if you have a television, ZBC charges licence fees on that but you can choose to watch ZTV through DSTV, it is your choice,” Mushohwe said.

The continued payment of ZBC licence fees remains a contentious issue in Zimbabwe.

The licences are still paid for ZBC services even though the country has since licenced nearly a dozen private radio stations.

Earlier this year, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court delivered a ruling ordering all Zimbabweans to pay the national broadcaster licence fees irrespective of which service provider they decide to use.

The constitutional challenge had been made by two citizens on the basis that compulsory payment for ZBC licenses violated the constitution because Zimbabweans were being forced to pay for services they didn’t want.

This same argument has often been used by car owners with certain car stereo systems that can’t access radio stations.