THE Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is moving closer to granting commercial radio licences to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls-based broadcasting firms after calling for public meetings on the suitability of the companies to be granted permission.
BAZ is a statutory body tasked with the licensing of television and radio stations. According to a notice, BAZ said the public meetings would be conducted between tomorrow and Friday.
In Bulawayo, FairTalk Communications (Pvt) Ltd trading as SKYZ Metro, Skies Radio (Pvt) Ltd, trading as Skies FM and Carryslot (Pvt) Ltd trading as Skyz FM, have been shortlisted.
In Victoria Falls, FairTalk Communications (Pvt) Ltd, trading Breeze FM, is the shortlisted firm.
“The BAZ wishes to advise members of the public that in terms of Section 10 (6) of the Broadcasting Services Act (Chapter 12:06) the shortlisted applicants published therein are required to attend public inquires to determine the applicants’ suitability to be licensed for the provision of the free-to-air local commercial radio broadcasting services in the areas applied for.
“On the day of the public inquiry, members of the public may submit oral and written representations to the person conducting the inquiry, subject to any restrictions that the authority may put in place to preserve order,” the notice read.
BAZ sparked controversy when it issued two national radio licences in 2011 as part of reforms pushed by the then coalition government.
During recent Information and Media Panel of Inquiry outreach meetings in Matabeleland, people expressed concern over persisting lack of radio and television signals and called for the government to speed the setting up of community radio stations.
BAZ hopes to complete the process by next month.
In January, the government said it was targeting to have licensed at least 25 radio stations across the country within two months should Treasury disburse funds on time.