The Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) has criticised the government of Zimbabwe for hiking licence fees for broadcasters as the cost is now beyond the reach of many.
In a statement on Thursday, MISA also castigated the government’s decision to own community radio stations and limiting foreign investment in the media industry to only 20 per cent. Part of the statement reads:
The licensing fees as gazetted, inhibit the right to establish as they are beyond the reach of many, especially in the areas of content creation and aggregation and community broadcasting.
As already noted, the government, hopefully, will not use the cost of establishment as justification to register its own community radio stations and cracking down on online content creators.
Furthermore, the government has no business in owning community radio stations, while the limiting of foreign investment to 20% smacks of an attempt to ring-fence the ruling elite monopoly in the industry.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) recently announced that licence fees for commercial television have been pegged at $306,000 per annum for the 10- year licence period which amounts to more than $3 million for the licence holding period while additional licensing costs include $170,000 as application fees.