By Nicholas Gochai
COMPANIES that were awarded television licenses in November 2020 have upto June next year to set up their stations and commence operating or risk losing their licenses.
This was revealed by the Minister of Information and Publicity, Monica Mutsvangwa, during a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting.
She said the government was seized with the matter of television stations and wanted the programme to start rolling out as a matter of urgency.
“We have no doubt as a Ministry that within the time frame of 18 months, which is the deadline, they will go live. They have 18 months within which to put their things together,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Zimbabwe opened up opportunities for new television licenses in the country last year which were awarded to six media houses out of 14 that had initially applied.
The six include Rusununguko Media (Pvt) Ltd — trading as NRTV, Jester Media trading as 3K TV, Acacia Media Group — trading as Kumba TV, Fairtalk Communications (Ke Yona TV) and Channel Dzimbahwe which is trading as Channel D and ZimPapers Television Network which is owned by the State media groups, ZimPapers.
The process is meant to open airwaves and remove a monopoly that was previously held by State broadcaster ZTV.
Many government critics, however, argue that the licenses were only given to companies that were loyal to government and this would make little change to promote media independence in the country.