BAZ blocks Kwese TV to protect government its interest in DStv




HARARE – The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) wishes to advise the public that the authority has not issued a licence to Kwese TV to operate in Zimbabwe.

This follows media reports suggesting that Kwese was now officially in Zimbabwe and did not need a licence after all.

In a statement, BAZ CEO, Mr Obert Muganyura said in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act [chapter 12:06], no person shall provide a broadcasting service in Zimbabwe other than in accordance with a licence issued by BAZ.

He stated that the content distribution licence issued to Dr. Dish, which was specific to the provision of the My TV Africa Sservice, as declared by Dr. Dish in its application and stated in the terms and conditions of the licence, was cancelled by the authority for failure by Dr. Dish to provide service.

“BAZ therefore wishes to advise the public not to invest in a service that cannot be provided without a licence and warns anyone who may contemplate providing an unlicensed broadcasting service to acquaint themselves with the course of action that the authority is bound to take in terms of the law,” said Mr Maganyura.

Zimbabwean government is an investor in Multichoice through Transmedia. Multichoice are the owners of DStv which according to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, in 2016-17 siphoned $300 million to South Africa through television services imports and bombarded Zimbabwean consumers with South African produced products.

In 2014, in suspicious plan to for its entry into Multichoice Zimbabwe’s low cost digital terrestrial television service GOtv has been taken off air by the country’s broadcasting regulatory authority due to what was then described as unspecified shareholder issues.

GOtv transmitters were switched off on January 31 by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe without prior notice to the management of GOtv, MultiChoice Africa or GOtv subscribers, one year after it was launched, according to a MultiChoice Zimbabwe statement.

The service is a joint initiative of MultiChoice Africa, DAE and Zimbabwe parastatal Transmedia, in line with the GOtv model of public private partnerships. Multichoice is believed to own 60 percent of the venture and it is believed government and some senior government officials own the 40 percent.

Last night the former Information Minister Prof Jonathan Moyo took to twitter to savage Kwese and justified the deals he presided over when government wrestled its state in Multichoice.

Commentators are surprised that government is allowing millions lost through television services imports and local consumers bombarded with South African produced goods at the expense of the local industries.

In 1986, South African mass media company Naspers (along with several other South African media companies) formed the entertainment entity known as M-Net. In October 1993, M-Net was divided into two companies – one dealing with the delivery of entertainment channels, the other oversaw subscriber management, signal distribution, and cellphone operations.

MultiChoice South Africa grew out of this subscriber management division. Today it’s the leading video entertainment operator in the country and services just over five million subscribers. In the late 80s, M-Net embarked on a drive to expand its operations beyond the borders of South Africa.

Its founder, Koos Bekker, wanted the company to position itself as a progressive pan-African entity. The breakthrough came when they were awarded a license in Namibia in 1991, quickly followed by a host of other countries. MultiChoice Africa came into being in 1996 and currently services over four million subscribers.