The Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services has urged the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to reduce fees for community radio licenses.
This was after the committee went visited Kenya in 2021 to take notes regarding the legislation and operationalisation of community radio stations in the East African country.
The committee said in Kenya, Free-to-Air Community Radio Stations are licensed for a period of 10 years.
It noted that licensees pay an application fee of US$9, an initial license fee of US$132 and an annual operation fee of US$132.
Presenting their findings before Parliament on Tuesday, Sipho Mokone, Chairperson of the committee, said:
They also have free-to-air community televisions which pay an application, initial license and annual operation fees of US$9 and US$263 respectively.
The delegation was informed that they benchmarked the fees with other countries and their fees were very low and affordable to the licensee as they were paid on an annual basis.
In Zimbabwe, community radio stations pay an application fee of US$321, a basic license fee of US$646 per annum and a monthly frequency fee of US$26 per month.
The committee also reported on the funding for community radio stations in Kenya.
In Zimbabwe, community radio stations are required to provide sources and proof of funding for the broadcasting Services. Said Mokone:
The delegation learnt that in a majority of cases, the funding for community radio stations in Kenya came from outside sources in the forms of grants and donations, as opposed to membership fees contributed by the community.
In most cases, funding comes from the community through membership fees and donations.
However, the regulations permit community radio licensees to come up with sponsored programmes for the sustenance of the Radio Station
In Zimbabwe, only foreign donations and contributions are prohibited and any funding model is permissible.