By Daniel Itai, Harare, Zimbabwe
They have been mixed feelings over the 14 shortlisted applicants by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) for a television broadcasting license.
Over the past four decades, the southern African country’s broadcast media has been heavily dominated by the state owned, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC), with BAZ unrelenting to issue broadcasting licenses especially television.
“We are just hopeful that more private broadcasters will get licences. We have been clamouring for the licensing of privately owned broadcasters for years now as this will actually help in the development of the industry in terms of structure, audiences, content and employment.
Moreso, the only thing that has changed is newspaper ownership otherwise the broadcast sector hasn’t changed, for decades we still have one television station and radio is dominated by state owned media so we need more private broadcasters who can be able to tell and relate our story from another angle,” said Leopold Munhende, spokesperson of the Young Journalists Association (YOJA).
However, Tinashe Nyahasha founder of TechZim was not entirely moved by BAZ’s stance citing that as long as they were stringent media reforms then there wouldn’t be anything worth celebrating.
“I think the space is still not as liberal as it can be. However, I also think technology is going to outpace the whole concept of licensing and regulation. The continuous increase in internet penetration will definitely and significantly change the broadcasting landscape,” said Nyahasha.
Regardless, following the shortlist that was published by BAZ in August pertaining to prospective television channels, the current trend of broadcasting might change for the better.