HomeLocal NewsParly to annul controversial radio licences?

Parly to annul controversial radio licences?

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Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) yesterday gave notice in the House of Assembly to move a motion on the alleged irregular issuance of broadcasting licences by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) late last month.

The motion is expected to be seconded by Zaka Central MP Harison Mudzuri (MDC-T). The motion would call upon Parliament to dissolve the current BAZ board, unilaterally appointed by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu on September 30, 2009.

Chikwinya said: “The motion would also condemn the recent irregular issuance of commercial broadcasting licences to the two politically- aligned players, Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and AB Communications.”

He said it would seek to annul the licences to allow for further consultations with all stakeholders, as well as seek to have implementation of provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act as amended in 2007.

The provisions in the Broadcasting Services Act stipulate that the BAZ board should be appointed by President Robert Mugabe in consultation with the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee of which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is also a member.

“We have seen with great concern the irregular certification of broadcasting licences done unilaterally by Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu,” said Chikwinya.

“Constitution Amendment 19 and the Broadcasting Services Act, which seek to give rise to media plurality, were passed by Parliament and the House cannot be a bystander if some provisions of those Acts are contravened by the Executive,” he said.

Chikwinya said through the motion he would advocate for the opening-up of airwaves and ensure media plurality and diversity.

This follows complaints by Tsvangirai, MDC leader Welshman Ncube and several civic leaders that the licences had been awarded irregularly.

Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and Supa Mandiwanzira’s ZiFM are allegedly linked to Zanu PF.

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