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Broadcasting Authority Threatens Zimbabwe Commercial Stations

Zimbabwe's two only commercial radio stations closure over transmission shortfalls
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is threatening to revoke licenses for two local commercial radio stations if they fail to comply with their terms of operation in the next six months.

The broadcasting authority says ZiFM and Star FM should hastily install 24 transmitters each to ensure national coverage. So far ZiFM has only installed 10 transmitters while Star FM has nine.

"Failure to comply with the requirement will result in the cancellation of the licenses in terms of section 16 of the Broadcasting Services Act,” BAZ said in a statement.

Star FM is owned by the government-run newspapers group, Zimpapers, while ZiFM was founded by Deputy Information Minister Super Mandiwanzira.

Broadcasting expert Zenzele Ndebele told Studio 7 that given the high cost of radio transmitters, the two stations will not be able to beat the six-month deadline.

"For more than 30 years ZBC has not been able to reach every part of the country because government cannot afford to buy transmitters, they are simply expensive," Ndebele commented.

The government says it is set to license more commercial and community radio stations.

MISA-Zimbabwe advocacy officer Tabani Moyo described the shutdown threats by BAZ as "unfortunate and uncalled for."