MULTICHOICE Zimbabwe has warned services which offer channels not authorised for viewing in Zimbabwe such as South African Broadcasting Corporation’s SABC 1, 2, 3 and eTV saying it is a prosecutable offence.
In July this year, the South African television signal carrier Sentech scrambled the SABC channels to ensure that they could not be broadcast beyond the South African borders.
The move left millions of Zimbabwe television viewers who had switched on to free-to-air decoders stranded as they were left viewing mostly religious channels.
Some dealerships then started offering the SABC channels if viewers purchased new decoders from them for between $35 and $100.
It is still unknown how the dealers manage to manage to register people to access SABC channels, but it is believed that they use South Africa-based individuals to register the smartcards using that country’s identity documents with MultiChoice in South Africa.
Responding to e-mailed questions, MultiChoice Zimbabwe public relations and publicity manager Elizabeth Dziva said no one had rights to air SABC channels in Zimbabwe.
“The DStv service in Zimbabwe may be sourced only from MultiChoice Zimbabwe, authorised agents, and paid through approved financial institutions,” Dziva said.
“As such, MultiChoice Zimbabwe does not offer these channels in its DStv bouquets. MultiChoice Zimbabwe regularly advises customers not to use service providers whose services are not authorised or supported by MultiChoice.
“Viewing unauthorised channels will constitute an infringement of international copyright laws and conventions to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, (and) additionally this would constitute an illegal action,” she added.
However, Dziva was quick to say that MultiChoice Zimbabwe was not authorised nor positioned to do anything about this illegal activity, which is the domain of the broadcaster and the licensing authorities in the country concerned.