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Broadcasting Services Act, 2001
April 04, 2001



Codes of Conduct and Programme Standards

24. Development of codes of conduct
25. Minister may require Authority to determine programme standards in certain cases


24   Development of codes of conduct   TOP

(1) The Authority shall, in consultation with broadcasting licensees, develop codes of conduct governing—

(a) the rules of conduct to be observed by broadcasting licensees;

(b) the standards and practices to be observed in advertising through a broadcasting service, including the prohibition of certain methods and practices of advertising, the length of advertisements and times at which certain advertisements may not be aired or aired with restrictions.

(2) Without derogating from the generality of subsection (1) codes of conduct shall provide for—

(a) broadcasting of programmes that are in accordance with community values and standards; and

(b) methods of ensuring the expression of children while protecting them from exposure to programme material which may be harmful to them; and

(c) methods of classifying programmes; and

(d) promoting accuracy, balance, fairness and completeness in news and current affairs programmes; and

(e) the safeguarding of national security; and

(f) the ethics and standards of coverage of civil and public disorder; and

(g) preventing the broadcasting of programmes that—

(i) simulate news or events in a way that misleads or alarms the audience; or

(ii) depict the actual process of putting a person into a hypnotic state; or

(iii) are designed to induce a hypnotic state in the audience; or

(iv) use or involve the process known as "subliminal perception" or any other technique that attempts to convey information to the audience by broadcasting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness;

(h) such other matters relating to programme content as may be of concern to the community.

(3) Codes of conduct developed in consultation with—

(a) commercial broadcasting licensees shall specify what broadcasting time shall be allocated to advertising the standards that are to apply to advertisements; and

(b) commercial radio broadcasting licensees shall specify what quota of Zimbabwean and African music shall be played in addition to that prescribed by this Act; and

(c) broadcasting licensees generally shall provide for—

(i) methods of handling complaints from the public about programme content or compliance with codes of conduct; and

(ii) methods of reporting to the Authority on complaints so made;


(d) television broadcasting licensees, shall provide for the captioning of programmes for the hearing impaired; and

(e) community broadcasting licensees shall provide for—

(i) the kinds of sponsorship announcements that may be broadcast by those licensees; or

(ii) the kinds of sponsorship announcements that particular kind of programme may carry;


(f) broadcasting licensees generally, shall provide for the granting of a right of reply where it is sought and justified; and

(g) subscription broadcasting licensees shall provide for dealings with customers of the licensees, including methods of billing, fault repair, privacy and credit management.

(4) Any code of conduct governing the matters referred to in subsection (2) or (3) that, immediately before the date of commencement of this Act, was applied by a public broadcaster or other person lawfully providing a roadcasting. webcasting or subscription satellite broadcasting service, shall be lodged by that person with the Authority for review in terms of subsection (7).

(5) In developing codes of conduct relating to matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (c) of subsection (2), community attitudes to the following matters are to be taken into account—

(a) the portrayal in programmes of physical and psychological violence;

(b) the portrayal in programmes of sexual conduct and nudity;

(c) the use in programmes of offensive language, including hate speech;

(d) the portrayal in programmes of the use of drugs, including alcohol;

(e) the portrayal in programmes of matter that is likely to incite or perpetuate hatred against, or vilifies, any person or group on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, natural difference or condition, age, religion or physical or mental disability;

(f) the reasonable protection of an individual’s name and reputation;

(g) such other matters relating to programme content as are of concern to the community.

(6) If the Authority is satisfied in relation to any code of conduct that—

(a) the code provides appropriate community safeguards for the matters covered by the code; and

(b) members of the public have been invited to comment on the code;

the Authority shall recommend to the Minister that the code be published in the Gazette, and the code shall, from the date of its publication, be binding on all the broadcasting licensees concerned.

(7) The Authority shall periodically conduct a review of any code of conduct developed, lodged or published in terms of this section to ensure that it is in accordance with prevailing community values and standards.

(8) The Minister shall, on the advice of the Authority, prescribe a schedule of monetary and other penalties to be imposed by the Authority in respect of any breaches of a code of conduct by a licensee.

(9) The Authority may, after affording the defaulting licensee a reasonable opportunity to be heard, impose a prescribed monetary penalty upon a licensee who commits any breach of a code of conduct, and a failure to pay such a penalty may be a ground for the cancellation of the licence concerned.

(10) The amount of any penalty paid in terms of subsection (9) shall form part of the funds of the Authority.


25   Minister may require Authority to determine programme standards in certain cases   TOP

(1) If—

(a) the Minister is satisfied that there is convincing evidence that a code of conduct developed or published in terms of section 24 is not operating to provide appropriate community safeguards in respect of any matter referred to in subsection (2) or (3) of that section; and

(b) the Minister is satisfied that the authority should determine a standard in relation to that matter;

the Minister shall write to the Authority, directing it to vary or revoke any standard in relation to that matter.

(2) If the Authority determines or varies or revokes a standard, the Authority must publish in the Gazette a notice stating—

(a) that the standard has been determined, varied or revoked; and

(b) the places where copies of the standard or of the variation or revocation can be purchased.

(3) Subsections (8), (9) and (10) of section 24 shall apply mutatis mutandis to any breaches of a standard.

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