Listeners’ licence fee to be scrapped

george charamba

Mr George Charamba

Ray Bande in MUTARE
Government will scrap the contentious listeners’ licence fee being charged everyone with a receiver, Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba has said. The Broadcasting Services Act, which penalises the possession of a radio or television signal receiver without a valid licence, has over the years come under severe criticism as some argued that the possession or ownership of a television signal receiver does not necessarily mean it was intended for purposes of accessing ZBC’s broadcast material.

ZBC, in its capacity as the nation’s public broadcaster, has been the sole beneficiary of the listeners’ licence fee.

However, Mr Charamba, who confirmed the development during deliberations at the ZiFM strategic workshop in Nyanga yesterday, said the fee was not serving its intended purpose, hence the decision to scrap it.

“We are getting to a time when the listeners’ fee has to be scrapped. The Broadcasting Services Act requires that all stations make a provision for Government Airtime (GAT), uphold the 75 percent local content concept, promotion of national languages and dialects yet only the so-called public broadcaster then gets to benefit out of it.

“After all, the absurdity of the legal instrument is exposed by the fact that mere possession of a receiver attracts a licence fee and with all the communication gadgets around us, it means almost everyone has to pay a licence fee even when one owns a phone. We have made a decision as a ministry and get it from me, it will soon be a thing of the past,” he said.

Mr Charamba said the financial situation in the media industry was gloomy.
“If our goal in 2000 was to destroy all dissenting media houses, as some would want to perceive things, then we are now presented with the chance to destroy them without firing a single shot. We had a chance to visit media houses recently and the situation is gloomy.

“AMH is not a happy story. Go to ANZ, it is not a happy story either. The only institution that is close to keeping its head above the waters is Zimpapers. We are facing a real catastrophe in the industry. We have replayed the political story forgetting that we have a responsibility to create business ideas to survive in such an environment,” he added.

The ZiFM retreat, which started yesterday, ends tomorrow.

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  • Nyasha Shumba

    Is this feasible?

  • Mupinyu Wasvotoka

    This is one of the issues i have with the Supreme Court judges. The Unconstitutionality of the Listener License was long reffered to supreme court for determinatn years ago and continued to be challenged but even to this day they have not passed a judgment. In the meantime ZBC and the police at roadblocks continue to fleece us of our hard earned cash . This is the same as AIPPA and POSA . We all know They infringe on our constnal right but the Supreme Court won’t pass a judgmnt on that despite the numerous arrests and appeals referred to Constnal court for determination… Its unfortunate that we have a bench that is failing at every turn to protect the rights of the citizens..$$$$$$$$$ chete musinga protecte our rights as enshrined in the constn.. Bcz the cause help to prop up the ruling party then judgmnts will NOT be passed ..and we say we have an impartial bench.

  • Observer

    Well done George. Its high time we move into the digital age where we can encrypt our radio & television signals such that only those who have paid their licenses will receive the signals. It will bring efficiency to the industry but better still, broadcasters will become more customer / listener oriented and broadcast what we want to hear or see on our televisions or radios

    • Phibion

      Signals will not be encrypted full stop. You dont expect me to pay to listen to a community radio station

  • chris

    well done Mr Charamba

  • Jotham

    Thank you Mr Charamba. Bonus of the year – 2014

  • dusty

    Holding my breath…

  • progressive zimbabwean

    taneta nengano! please practice what you preach. You always use this paper to deliver these wishy washy things that will still take 20years to be implemented, if ever! It makes good reading in today’s paper but never again will it be repeated until such time there is another ‘strategy planning workshop’ in Nyanga! Cry my beloved country.

  • Rufaro Ndlovu

    Thank you so much Cde Charamba. I can’t afford that licence and I am so scared of ZBC finding out that i hide my TV in the broom cupboard. It is so small and uncomfortable in there and so i don’t watch much television – just the ZTV news.

    • Fatso Gringo

      And how will they find out you got a TV with no license? I last saw those dudes…..I do not even know when!

      • Rufaro Ndlovu

        Oh thanks Cde Fatso for your reassurance. I’ll now take my TV out of the broom cupboard and keep it in the lounge room and If ever I do see those ‘dudes’ I’ll send my fine to you for payment.

        • Fatso Gringo

          If you can find me! 😀

  • Wilson Magaya

    It seems like that we are unaware of the developments in media and will be so for a long time. has it ever crossed anyone’s mind that licencing anything including broadcasting could be irrelevant in 2 years or so.. We are stuck in the ’60s and 70’s we need to come to the 21st century and start getting ready for the border-less systems.

  • samaz

    Actions please not words walk the talk

  • Dehwa

    Matigonera act now