Some residents of Zimbabwe's Nyanga North district of Manicaland province are refusing to pay radio and television license fees to the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation because they do not receive program transmissions and depend on foreign broadcasters including VOA's Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and Radio Mozambique.
Last month Bulawayo residents also threatened to withhold license fees, saying state radio and television has not justified the levy through the provision of quality services. The Matabeleland region residents said they relied on the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which they said offers superior and more informative programming.
Licenses cost US$50 a year and provide much of ZBC’s revenue along with advertising - but the latter revenue source has diminished by 60 percent in recent months.
Failure to pay license fees can lead to a lawsuit by the state broadcaster. But Bulawayo Residents Association Coordinator Roderick Fayayo said none of his group’s members has been taken to the courts by ZBC or partner Zimbabwe Broadcast Holdings so far.
Nyanga North lawmaker Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that he and others are prepared to defend themselves in court.