ZBC television Monopoly To Be Maintained

Obert Muganyura, the chief executive officer of BAZ, on Thursday ruled out any licensing of independent television stations, saying it was not a priority for the body in the next two years.

“The biggest issue is the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting and meeting the SADC 2013 deadline,” he said.

Countries in SADC are understood to have made a commitment that they will complete the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2013 ahead of the world deadline of 2015.

BAZ, which the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) maintain was unconstitutionally instituted by the minister of media, information and publicity Webster Shamu, is accused of showing bias towards President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF).

In what media activists view as cosmetic measures to free the airwaves, BAZ last year awarded two free-to-air commercial radio licenses to Zimpapers (Talk Radio) and AB Communications (ZI Radio) out of 14 applicants.

The two aspiring broadcasters are linked to President Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

After issuing the two commercial radio licenses BAZ invited 14 more applicants for community radio stations to be based in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bindura,Gwanda, Marondera, Lupane, Plumtree, Kariba, Victoria Fall and Beitbridge.

Two losing applicants, KISS-FM and VOP Radio have approached the courts contesting the awarding of the two licences to Zimpapers Radio and AB Communications which is owned by Supa Mandiwanzira, who has been reported as setting his eyes on running for a legislative seat in Nyanga under the Zanu (PF) ticket.

While Mandiwanzira has denied Zanu (PF) links, in October last year he appeared in a front page picture with the ZANU-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa campaigning for the party.

Last year some legislators called for the BAZ board to be dissolved on the grounds that it was illegally constituted after it emerged the cabinet gave a directive to regularize the appointment of the BAZ board.

ZBC has the monopoly of the airwaves forcing people to resort to expensive satellite dishes.