MEMBERS of Paliament yesterday blasted the snail’s pace in the issuance of radio licences by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), saying there seemed to be a hidden agenda behind it.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
The Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology chaired by Umzingwane MP William Dhewa said this during a visit to BAZ offices in Harare.
Makonde MP Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF) and Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) brought up the issue after BAZ chief executive officer Obert Muganyura had told the committee that they were still at the shortlisting stage of the 21 applications for local commercial radio licences.
“Are you telling us that from 2009 up to now you only issued three radio licences when countries like Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi have many community radio stations?” Paradza queried.
“The problem is not with the (enabling) Act, but yourselves because what it means is that these 21 applications are going to take 20 years to complete.”
Maridadi chipped in saying: “Your adjudication process is also not fair because last time ZiFM and StarFM were already broadcasting when other applicants had not yet been told that their applications were not successful.”
Muganyura said the selection process was cumbersome and vetting applicants would take six to seven months.
“We cannot shorten the process. In the last process we took two months to shortlist applicants, two months to do pre-assessment and two months to conduct public inquiries and final adjudication. Seven months is unavoidable as we also have to look at whether their proposals meet objectives in terms of the Act,” he said.
Transmedia Corporation chief executive officer Florence Sigudu-Matambo said the paltry allocation of $3 million instead of the needed $30 million would affect digitalisation.