THE Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has threatened to cancel operating radio licenses for Star FM and ZiFM saying the two stations had not fully complied with operating requirements of installing 24 transmitters countrywide.
BAZ is a statutory body tasked with licensing of television and radio stations.
Yesterday, BAZ in a statement said the two stations were given operating licences on November 2011 after indicating that they would provide national coverage within 36 months by installing transmitters or provide funding to Transmedia Corporation to ensure national coverage of services.
However, both stations were lagging behind in installing the transmitters.
“The authority has observed that so far ZiFM has deployed 10 transmitters whilst Star FM had deployed nine transmitters only out of the required 24 with six months to go before the expiry of the 36-month period,” BAZ said.
“The BAZ hereby notifies the two licensees that they are required to provide national coverage services by 22 November, 2014. Henceforth, the authority will audit the progress made by the two companies on a monthly basis.
“Failure to comply with the requirement will result in the cancellation of the licences in terms of Section 16 of the Broadcasting Services Act.”
Zimbabwe currently has six radio stations — four owned by the government — while the other two — Star FM and ZiFm — owned by Zimpapers and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira respectively.
On his appointment as deputy minister last year, Mandiwanzira stepped down as chief executive officer of ABC Communications, which owns ZiFM.
Mandiwanzira recently said his ministry was committed to multiple radio stations, but was against individuals who claimed to be representing communities yet wanted to use the stations as political tools.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo in February said more radio stations would be given broadcasting licences following the digitalisation process that ends in June 2015.
During recent Information and Media Panel of Inquiry outreaches in Matabeleland, people expressed concern over persisting lack of radio and television signals and urged government to speed up the setting up of community radio stations.