BY VENERANDA LANGA
INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday promised Parliament that issuance of the broadcasting licences would be transparent. This was after opposition MPs grilled her during the National Assembly question-and-answer sessions over the licensing issue, whereby in the past licences were given to State-linked broadcasters.
Mabvuku Tafara MP James Chidhakwa (MDC Alliance) asked Mutsvangwa to explain why the six licences were being opened up for players ahead of amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act.
“The second republic introduced quite a number of reforms from the onset and we have been working hard to ensure we align Acts with the Constitution and reform the media. One of the reforms was to make sure that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is fully constituted in terms of the board and management,” Mutsvangwa said.
“That process has been done. The Broadcasting Services Act is before the Attorney-General and is in the process of being amended and the process is being done simultaneously with the issue of licensing.
“We want to issue the licenses as we realise the importance of having television coverage and a variety to Zimbabweans. A total of 14 applicants were shortlisted and public enquiries for the licences are on-going and the process will be transparent,” she said.
Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC Alliance) then further asked her to explain if the licenses would be issued fairly.
“We see that Zimpapers, which owns a radio station and already has ZTN, has applied again. Can the minister assure the House that all licences are not going to be given to government institutions?” Madzimure asked.
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Mutsvangwa responded: “Let me assure you that the BAZ processes are above board and that they are following the statutes. The process will ensure that only the best applicants get the licences.”