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Statutory 18 months within which to go on air – Minister Mutsvangwa

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Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says Government is optimistic that all newly licensed six tv stations will be able to take off.The six new free to air private television stations that were issued with broadcasting licences have got a statutory 18 months within which to go on air, Minister Mutsvangwa told legislators yesterday.

She said this while responding to questions from backbenchers in the National Assembly.

was one of the channels awarded a free-to-air television licence.

The six are Rusununguko Media (Pvt) Ltd  trading as NRTV, Jester Media trading as 3K TV, Acacia Media Group  trading as Kumba TV, Fairtalk Communications (Ke Yona TV) , Channel Dzimbahwe  trading as Channel D and Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), a subsidiary of diversified media group Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd.

Matabeleland South MP, Ms Sipho Mokone (MDC-T) wanted to know why the six television stations had not rolled out.

Minister Mutsvangwa said rolling out of television stations was something the Government was seized with as it sought to expand the broadcasting industry. She said the six firms were licensed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, a statutory body mandated to discharge those duties.

“We have no doubt as a Ministry that within the time frame of 18 months, which is the deadline, they will go live. They have 18 months within which to put their things together,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Of the 14 companies that applied for television licences, six were awarded licences after public hearings conducted last month.

Critics say this was not done in line with requirements of the 2013 Constitution, with the main cause of failure being a finding of inability to meet requirements after a rigorous verification process to establish the capacity of applications.

Critics further compound that the move will not end a long held monopoly enjoyed by the State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation instead it will entrench it because all the licensed new players are Zanu PF or Zanu Pf sympathisers.

Ross Moyo

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