Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana has revealed that the government plans to licence 24 TV channels. As is typical of the government’s projects these days he did not give a timeline as to when we can expect this to happen.

The Government will diversify ownership. Licences will not be issued on partisan lines, but it will be open for everyone.

The licences will be issued in a transparent manner, but the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), as a public broadcaster, will have a fair share.

In fact, licences are actually awarded by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s (BAZ) board. For the past number of years, there has not been aboard because inexplicably our beloved government has failed to appoint one. In I were a paranoid man I would think this was a deliberate attempt to frustrate possible attempts by other players to seek recourse before the board. You cannot seek recourse before a board that does note exist.

No reason to be excited here

Besides not giving a timeline here is one thing you should not: Our current government does not walk the talk when it comes to policy announcements. For example, we have been promised digitisation at ZBC for years. Each time we are given misleading information that is contradicted with an apology when the next update is made.

A while back the government of Zimbabwe invited invitations for radio licence applications. Despite promising to be non-partisan the government went on to award itself all the licences. The beneficiaries were poorly disguised government departments such as ZimPapers, StarFM etc

Don’t expect this to be any different.

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