Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Zimbabwe is set to have at least six independent television channels with their licensing expected to be completed by August, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said yesterday while commissioning ZBC’s HD Studios at Pockets Hill in Highlands, Harare.
She said the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has been told to ensure fairness in the awarding of the television licences.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the ZBC’s HD project has come at an opportune time for the television industry when Government has just gazetted regulations that will trigger the licensing of other players in the television sector.
“There is competition coming. Zimbabwe is going to see the emergence of at least six independent television channels within the next few months,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“This licensing should be completed before, or even well before August 2020, I mean this year. As a Government, we have shown our sincerity towards media landscape reform.
“We are putting in place secondary enabling legislation to support the emergence of other players in the sector.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabweans were diverse and educated, hence the decision to have independent television licences so that citizens could deploy their ingenuity in productions and not only entertain their own people, but also earn foreign currency as is happening in Nigeria and Kenya.
She said it was important for ZBC to move forward ahead of the impending competition from the independent television channels.
“We have now gone further by commissioning this studio, which again will act as an enabler for the industry’s vision and growth.
“We are not stopping there; we already have a draft Media and Film Policy, this is the first time in this country to have a Film and Media National Policy.
“That Media and Film Policy is ready to go to Cabinet.
“And that is not the end of our inclusive approach, we will continue to consult. We believe and trust there are experts out there, whose input will be critical.”
The HD Studio can be used by independent producers for their productions.
Minister Mutsvangwa applauded ZBC for the initiative, especially as it will help its competitors too.
“I wish to applaud ZBC for their attitude towards competition, well done.
“You have invested in ensuring that your competitors have access to facilities that will enable them to play a diverse and critical role in the broadcasting industry.”