Broadcast Regulation

Zimbabwe Emraces Technological Convergence, Marries BAZ and POTRAZ

The Zimbabwean Government through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting, George Charamba, revealed that it has decided to consolidate Zimbabwe Post and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe(BAZ).

According to Charamba: “the reason why we want to merge POTRAZ and BAZ is that we are talking about an industry that is based on technology. This merger is a case of technological convergence in a field that has historically been separate yet owned by the same body- the Zimbabwean Government. With this alliance, there will no longer be any wall between both entities.”

Charamba said: "Currently when you regulate telecommunications, you must also pay attention to what is happening in the field of broadcasting as they go hand in hand. The merger of the two regulatory bodies is, therefore, the best way to have adequate regulation for global decision-making."

For the Zimbabwean chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), this decision that the government has reached will open the field of broadcasting to private players as well as community broadcasters. MISA  said that this would be possible if there will be an amendment of the current Zimbabwean media laws and policies in agreement with the media freedoms enshrined in the country's 2013 constitution.

For these digital opportunities to become a reality, the organisation reiterated its mission which aims to promote access to information, freedom of expression and an independent, diverse media in the country.

Media monitors in and outside the country are doubtful the Zimbabwean government instituted the BAZ and Potraz merging with all loopholes closed. They argued that the merger may have come through as a mere copy and paste of global practices without a proper understanding of why things are moving the way they are.


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