Six new television stations by year-end: Minister Mutsvangwa

By Justin Mahlahla
THE Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, says the government will by end of this year issue out six television broadcasting licences to new players.
She was responding to a question on why the process of awarding licenses was ongoing while amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act were still in progress.
“We realise the importance of having commercial television so that we give our Zimbabwean audience in terms of what they should be watching. That process is on and 14 applicants applied for those licences and they were listed. Interviews are ongoing. Public inquiries will be ongoing and the process is very transparent. They will be chosen without fear or favour, transparently,” she said.
She said the Second Republic has introduced a number of reforms and is working to ensure various Acts, including those regulating the media, are aligned with the Constitution.
She added, “One of the works which we have been doing as a Ministry is just to make sure that BAZ, the statutory body which is there to give licences is fully constituted in terms of its board and management. It had gone for quite a while without a board and that process has been done.
“We have been talking about issuing six licences and they will be
issued certainly before the end of the year. The process is on now. What Hon. Chidakwa was asking me was on the Broadcasting Services Act. That again is with the Attorney General and is actually in the process of being amended and so the processes are almost moving simultaneously and there is no reason why the (Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe) BAZ as a statutory board can stop because the Broadcasting Services
Bill has not yet been passed. We are moving once and we want to issue the licences,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe in February this year called for applications for six free to air national commercial television licences.
The regulator has since published the names of those shortlisted for the television licences, among them Zimpapers Television Network, AB Communications, Heart and Soul, Just In Time TV, Rusununguko Media and Ke Yona TV.