The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has today started a public hearing for the licensing of 6 new private Free-to-Air National Commercial Television stations.
By Plot Mhako
The move to license new TV stations will break a monopoly by the sole TV broadcaster in Zimbabwe, ZBC. In the late 90s ZBC was carrying transmission for three local TV stations namely Joy TV, LDM, Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation before they were cut off air.
The new development becomes the first major attempt by the government to free the airwaves and has been welcomed by creatives and various stakeholders though some feel it might have come a bit too late. Other players are also hoping that the licensing process will be fair and afford more independent voices a chance.
The licencing of 6 national commercial television stations will bring the total number of digital TV channels to 12, together with other 6 to be run by the public broadcaster ZBC. Under the digital platform Zimbabweans will enjoy a 12 channel bouquet of diverse local television content. In the first hearing today with ACACIA the BAZ chairman revealed that the approved broadcasters will be announced by end of November this year.
Free-to-Air National Commercial Television Licence Public Inquiries started today and will run until the 21st of October 2020 are being conducted virtually in line with Covid-19 regulations.
In a statement BAZ invited members of the public to attend the hearings.
Below is the schedule for the hearings.