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Licensing

Licensing Processes

-Determination of priorities among particular areas of Zimbabwe and different parts of broadcasting services bands

-Gazetting of priorities

-Preparation of frequency allotment plan

-Preparation of licence area plans

-Gazetting of licence area plans

-Invitation of applications for specified licenses

-Qualification Criteria

-Public Inquiry (where applicable)

-Issuance of Licences

 

Public Inquiry

A Public Inquiry is a public process where the Authority's Board, sitting as a quasi-judicial body in terms of the Commissions  of Inquiry Act, interrogates short listed applicants for the purpose of determing the applicants suitability to be licensed .
Public Inquiries are only held for the following classes of licenses:
a) commercial broadcasting service
b) subscription satellite broadcasting service
c)subscription cable broadcasting service
d) subscription narrowcasting service
e) open narrowcasting service

Classification of Licenses

(a) a commercial broadcasting service;
(b) a community broadcasting service;
(c) a subscription satellite broadcasting service;
(d) a subscription cable broadcasting service;
(e) a subscription narrowcasting service;
(f) an open narrowcasting service;
(g) a datacasting service;
(h) a roadcasting service;
(i) a railcasting service;
(j) a webcasting service.

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Qualification Criteria

The Authority assesses whether or not an applicant qualifies by checking compliance with sections 8,10 and 22 of the Act.

Section 8 provides for persons disqualified to be licensed:

Section 8 Persons disqualified to be licensed
(1)   Subject to subsection (3), a broadcasting licence shall be issued only to individuals who are citizens of Zimbabwe or to a body corporate in which a controlling interest is held, whether through any individual, company or association or otherwise, by one or more individuals who are citizens of Zimbabwe. 
(2)   For the purposes of subsection (1) “controlling interest” means-
(a) in relation to the corporate structure of the body corporate— 
(i) all of the securities in the body corporate; or 
(ii) securities representing all of the share capital of the body corporate; or
(iii) securities equivalent in value to one hundred per centum of the share capital of the body corporate; or 
(iv) securities entitling the holders thereof to all the votes in the affairs of the body corporate. 
(b) in relation to the governance of the body corporate, that the majority of persons who— 
(i) determine the policy of the broadcasting service; or 
(ii) manage the day-to-day operations of the broadcasting service; or are Zimbabwean citizens 
(3)   No licence for a community broadcasting service, commercial broadcasting service or datacasting service shall be issued to a person other than a body corporate.
(4)   No licence shall be issued to an applicant who does not comply with Part IV.  
(5)   Repealed 
(6)   No person-  
(a) whose broadcasting service or signal transmission station is wholly or partly funded by foreign donations or contributions; or 
(b) which is a subsidiary company as defined in section 143 the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03], or whose broadcasting service is provided as agent for, or under a franchise from, another person; or 
(c) convicted of an offence in terms of this Act, the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] or the Radiocommunication Services Act [Chapter 12:04] before its repeal by the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05]; 
shall be licensed.
(7)  No applicant shall be licensed if the applicant or any director of the applicant-
(a) has, in terms of a law in force in any country- 
(i) been adjudged or otherwise declared insolvent or bankrupt and has not been rehabilitated or discharged; or 
(ii) made an assignment to, or arrangement or composition with, his creditors which has not been rescinded or set aside; or
(b) has, within the period of five years immediately preceding the date of his proposed appointment, been convicted-
(i) in Zimbabwe, of an offence; or 
(ii) outside Zimbabwe, in respect of conduct which, if committed in Zimbabwe, would constitute an offence;

and sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding six months imposed without the option of a fine, whether or not any portion has been suspended, and has not received a free pardon.
(8)  Notwithstanding subsection (1) and (2), the Minister may at his or her absolute discretion grant exemptions from those provisions and permit the Authority to issue any broadcasting licence to an individual or body corporate approved by the Minister in which the controlling interest or any portion thereof is held by persons who are not citizens of Zimbabwe. 

Section 10 provides for the form and manner to be followed in the submission of applications and the statutory steps that follow after the submission of the application:

Section 10 Application for licence
(1) The Authority shall, subject only to the availability of band spectrum and after carrying out its functions in terms of the First Schedule, publish a notice in the Gazette and in a national newspaper inviting applications for licences to provide the broadcasting services or systems specified in the notice.
(2) Subject to subsection (1), an application for a licence shall be submitted to the Authority in the form and manner prescribed, and be accompanied by the prescribed fee and such information or documents as may be prescribed or as the Authority may require, including information concerning any tariff required in terms of section forty-four. 
(3) Within seven days of submitting his application in the prescribed manner and form, an applicant shall publish his application in a national newspaper at his own expense and in a manner and form approved by the Authority. and the Authority shall not consider the application until it has received proof of such publication.
(4) Within fourteen days of the publication of an application for a licence, any person having any objection to the application may lodge a written objection with the Authority. 
(5) The Authority shall examine all applications and objections thereto with a view to shortlisting those applicants who, in its opinion, may qualify to be licensed. 
(6) Every applicant for a licence to provide any of the broadcasting services specified in paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of subsection (2) of section seven, who is short-listed in terms of subsection (5), shall be required to attend a public inquiry conducted by the Authority for the purpose of determining his or her suitability to be licensed, at a time and place to be determined in a written notice to such applicant. 
(7) The Authority may refuse to consider an application for a licence referred to in subsection (6) if, upon receiving satisfactory proof of service of the notice referred to in subsection (6), the applicant fails to attend the inquiry. 
(8) For the purposes of a public inquiry held in terms of subsection (6), the members of the Authority shall have all of the powers, rights, privileges and duties conferred or imposed upon a commissioner by the Commissions of Inquiry Act [Chapter 10:07], other than the power to order a person to be detained in custody, and sections 9 to 13 and 15 to 18 of that Act shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in relation to any hearing conducted by the Authority and to any person summoned to give or giving evidence for the purpose of the hearing.
(9) After a consideration of an application for a licence in terms of this section, whether after a public inquiry or otherwise, the Authority may issue or refuse to issue the licence sought and notify the applicant of its decision and, in the case of a refusal to issue a licence, of the reasons thereof. 
(10) Repealed 
(11) Within thirty days after the issue of a licence in terms of subsection (10) the licensee shall, at his own expense, cause the licence to be published in               a national newspaper.


Section 22 provides the limitation on directorship:

22 Prohibition against non-citizens becoming directors of licensees
No person other than a citizen of Zimbabwe shall be a director of a licensee.