Govt issuance of 6 television licenses a facade : MISA

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The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says recent issuing of six television licenses by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is a facade that lacks diversity.

MISA states that the license were issued to holders already occupying space in the print and broadcast spectrum.

BAZ on Friday awarded six national commercial television station licences to operate in the country.

The issuance broke ZBC’s 40-year monopoly as the sole broadcaster in the country.

However, MISA has blasted the move saying it lacks diversity making the country to continue being subjected to similar news content.

In a statement on Friday MISA said, ” While the decision to license more television stations is a welcome development, MISA Zimbabwe is worried at the lack of diversity in the granting of the TV licences.

“The new TV licence holders either already hold print or broadcasting licences or are linked to the government or the governing party.”

“With this scenario, the country risks having a homogeneity of news and views, an anathema to democracy.”

The six companies awarded the controversial licences are; Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), owned by a state-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers, Rusununguko Media owned by a Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) company, Jester Media with links to Harare Minister Oliver Chidawa, Acacia Media Group owned by a known Zanu PF politician, Sharon Mugabe, Fairtalk Communications, partly owned by the ZNA, and Channel Dzimbahwe, owned by war veteran and former ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere.

The stations have 18 months to roll out operations.

MISA added that If Zimbabwe is to have a truly diverse media, there is a need for more players from different backgrounds to be granted licences.

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