By Robert Tapfumaneyi
DEPUTY Information Minister Kindness Paradza says three applicants who applied and were awarded broadcasting licenses last year are struggling to pay for their licence fees.
Last November, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) awarded six free-to-air national commercial television broadcasting licenses.
The six new entrants are; Jester Media Services trading as 3K TV and owned by the Daily News), Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) trading as ZTN, Rusununguko Media trading as NRTV and controlled by Zimbabwe National Army, and Acacia Media Group trading as Kumba TV, owned by Sharon Mugabe, a former aspirant Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi South.
Others are; Fairtalk Communications trading as Ke Yona TV and part-owned the army, and Channel Dzimbahwe trading as Channel D owned by Happison Muchechetere, a former chief executive at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
However, according to Paradza three broadcasting stations are struggling to pay their licence fees to BAZ. The deadline was January 21 this year.
The deputy minister said the three station had offered a grace period of up to the end of next June to settle the issue lose their licenses.
Paradza, however, declined to mention the struggling three stations.
“We have given six licenses to those operators who want to start television stations, but so far only three have managed to pay for the licenses,” Paradza said Friday in Chinhoyi during National Aids Council (NAC) editors’ workshop.
“The other three are struggling, so what we have done is, we said OK we are giving you up to June to pay up. That is what we have done. That means we want Zimbabweans to have a choice when it comes to the media.
“So what happens after June is we are going to re-advertise if they fail to pay again.”
BAZ requirements are that a TV station granted a license must pay a basic licence fee for 10 years at US$15 000 per annum plus a 1% gross turnover or deemed turnover per annum for the license period, US$30 per frequency site every month, and a Broadcasting Fund which is a contribution of 0.5% of the audited annual gross turnover payable annually.
Last year, BAZ received 14 applications for the broadcasting licenses and six stations were selected.