Mukudzei Chingwere and Munashe Mukahlera
Diversified media group Zimbabwe Newspapers 1980 Ltd’ online streaming service, Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) will be ready to launch in the next 18 months following its award of a free to air television licence, general manager Ms Nomsa Nkala has said.
Reacting to news that ZTN has been awarded a free to air television licence, Ms Nkala said: “We have put in a lot of work creating and building the ZTN brand, so we are excited that we have come this far. We are also looking forward to the next phase of our journey especially contributing to the growth of film and television in Zimbabwe. It’s an exciting time for us.”
Ms Nkala added: “Expect ZTN to be live within the 18 months set by the regulator. We are getting ready to launch our channel.”
ZTN is among six applicants that have been awarded a free-to-air television licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
The new stations include Rusununguko Media (Pvt) Ltd trading as NRTV, Jester Media trading as 3K TV, Acacia Media Group trading as Kumba TV, Fairtalk Communications trading as Ke Yona TV and Channel Dzimbahwe trading as Channel D.
Fourteen companies had applied for the television licences, including ZTN, but six were awarded after meeting the requirements, ending decades of monopoly by the public broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
The move is in fulfilment of the 2013 Constitution and also to gives credence to the country’s push of implementing media reforms.
“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe wishes to advise the public that the process of licencing new television services has been completed,” said BAZ board chairman Mr Charles Sibanda this morning.
“The authority processed the applications in terms of the requirements of the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06} including conducting public inquiries to determine applicant’s suitability to be issued with broadcasting services licences.”
“The new licensees shall have eighteen (18) months to rollout their plans and go on air, in line with section 11 (7) of the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:6].
“In the event of failure to broadcast, the licences will be availed to other aspirants through a similar process,” said Mr Sibanda.
Recently, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the implementation of various reforms by the Second Republic has given credence to re-engagement efforts.
Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-Alliance) who is the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services chair, hailed the milestone of awarding licences to private players.