Mandatory radio licence defeats legal logic says MAZ

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Mandatory radio licence defeats legal logic says MAZ

Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) has castigated moves by the government to introduce mandatory radio licencing for motorists, arguing that it defeats legal logic in terms of payment of taxes.

The proposed changes are contained in the Broadcasting Services Act Amendment Bill whose principles were adopted by the Cabinet a few days ago.

The Broadcasting Services Act regulates broadcasting services in Zimbabwe and their mandate includes setting radio and television licence fees,  licencing broadcasters, as well manage broadcast frequencies.

In a statement, MAZ chairperson Perfect Hlongwane said ‘’…the proposition to mandate every vehicle owner to obtain or be in possession of a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) radio license before they can be issued with a vehicle insurance and licence is impractical and defeats legal logic.

‘’Taxes should be charged and payable for services that have been received or enjoyed. Vehicle owners without devices to receive radio services will be forced to pay for services they have no access to. In any event not all vehicle owners have access to ZBC.

‘’While the need to recapitalize the ZBC is noble, there is a need to widen the scope beyond the state-controlled broadcaster. Media sustainability is an issue across all media, including the recently licenced community broadcasters.

‘’Instead of seeking to entrench a monopoly for the national broadcaster, taxes payable by citizens should be channeled towards a broader broadcasting fund for reinvestment into all media.

‘’The law should further increase the threshold of foreign ownership in promoting investment and ensuring sustainability. There’s also need to amend provisions prohibiting community radio stations from generating revenue from

advertisers and other such funding partners,’’ he said.

The issue of radio licence has caused a lot of uproar on social media, with a lot of questions being raised.

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