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Broadcasting Act to be amended
MISA-Zimbabwe
January 09, 2006

The government says it will amend the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) to ease the entry of potential investors into the broadcasting arena.

Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity Bright Matonga, told the weekly Sunday Mirror that his ministry was awaiting recommendations from consultative meetings between the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and stakeholders.

BAZ chairman Pikirayi Deketeke said they were still to complete the consultations with interest groups.

The BSA bars foreign funding and investment in the otherwise capital intensive broadcasting sector. No private players have been licensed to enter the broadcasting arena since the enactment of the BSA in 2001.

Oscar Kubara, the chief executive officer of Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation (MABC), which was last year denied a licence to operate a commercial television station, said the government should relax its restrictions on foreign investment.

He said the government should allow for 80 percent local shareholding with the remaining 20 percent being allocated to foreign partners.

"Foreign technical partners have to come in with equipment and expertise. Zimbabwe is struggling to raise foreign currency and most the equipment used in broadcasting is manufactured abroad.

Where does government expect that foreign currency to come from if they prohibit foreign funding," asked Kubara.

Said Matonga: "We definitely want more radio and television stations. We also understand that broadcasting is a very technical and very expensive business venture. We intend to see (sic) what is acting against industry players and correct the situation."

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