The Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill, which will soon be brought before Parliament, aims at limiting ownership of broadcasting stations by people who also own newspapers.
The new section 23(a) and (b) of the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill imposes limitations on cross-media control of broadcasting services, and essentially, a person who controls a newspaper may not have control of a commercial broadcasting licence in an area where a newspaper has circulation of 20% of the total newspaper readership if the licence area and the circulation area overlap by 50% or more.
Mugabe explained that although it is allowed for one to own both print and broadcasting, the threshold should only be 20%.
He also said that section 7 of the proposed Bill permits foreign ownership of broadcasting stations for up to 20% stake. Mugabe added that the percentage can be increased to 25% stake although foreigners cannot constitute 20% in both investment and board members.
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe programmes manager, Nigel Nyamutumbu, opined that the ownership regulations were not phrased in a clear manner.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, said inasmuch as airwaves must be controlled, the country needs to be alive to the fact that the media sector can contribute highly to the gross domestic product.
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