By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
Six commercial radio stations that were licensed in early 2015 but have not started operating face closure if they do not get up by month-end, according to a government ultimatum.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) last year issued operating licences to eight stations, but only two, Diamond FM based in Mutare and Ya FM in the Midlands town of Zvishavane are airing.
Diamond FM is owned by the government-controlled Zimpapers stable.
AB Communications’s Gogogoi FM and FAYA FM, Kingstons’ KE100.4 FM and Nyaminyami FM as well as Fairtalk Communications’s Skyz Metro and Breeze FM have failed to function and face closure.
BAZ regulations require licencees to start functioning with 18 months.
Obert Muganyura, the BAZ chief executive officer, told local media at the weekend that the authority had written to the dormant stations on the September deadline.
“Before cancelling the licences, there is a process which needs to be followed. They are supposed to give reasons why they have failed to go on air within that period which is stipulated in the Act.
“As the regulator, our role is to grow the industry and not kill it. But at the same time we need to follow the law because if they fail to provide a service by end of this month, it means they would have failed to meet one of the conditions,” he said.
He added that the radio stations were confident that they would beat the deadline.
Several newspapers that were also licensed in recent years have failed to start operations, with the failure largely blamed on the prevailing economic crisis that has forced other mass media initiatives to close or scale down. Nehanda Radio