Govt gazettes new broadcasting licence fees

By Albert Nxumalo

The government has approved and gazetted new broadcasting fees paving the way for the licencing of campus radio and community radio stations.

According to Statutory Instrument 27 of 2020, some of the fees are pegged in United States dollars dispute the government banning local transactions in foreign currency.

“It is hereby notified that the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services has, in terms of section 46 of the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06], approved the following regulations made by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board: These regulations may be cited as the Broadcasting Services (Licensing and Content) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (No. 3),” the SI reads in part.

Besides setting new license fees, the regulations now permit University campus radio stations to start broadcasting.

“Campus radio station means a broadcasting service run and owned by a college, university or other educational institution whose programming is exclusively by students and broadcast mainly educational programmes for training of students in media and broadcasting station,” reads part of the statutory instrument.

Educational institutions wishing to run free to air broadcasting services will pay $21 250 00 non-refundable application fee plus $42 500 per annum and $510 00 per annum as basic licence fees for 10 years and monthly frequency fees respectively.

Zimbabwe is yet to establish community radios, 40 years since independence with numerous calls for their licensing continuing to hit a snag.

The government is however yet to call for community radio applications, notwithstanding calls from community radio initiatives that have been in place since the year 2000.

Key media stakeholders say government involvement in the establishment of community radios across the country is likely to compromise the whole concept.

According to the new regulations, aspiring community radio station operators will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $8 500 and a basic licence fee which runs for ten years of $17 000 per annum.

An amount of $51000 per frequency per month will be charged.

The application fee for commercial radio stations has been set at $42 500 00 (non -refundable) and $85 000 00 per annum as a basic licence fee for 10 years.

Application fees for datacasting are set at $42 500 00 (non-refundable and $170 000 00 per annum for a basic licence fee for three years.

Players in the free to air national television sector are required to part with $42 500 00 initial application fee and $306 000 00 per annum for a 10-year basic licence fee.

Some of the gazetted fees are for satellite link, road casting, rail casting and signal carrier services.

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