For radio broadcasters, 75% of their music must be of local origin, while another 10% must be
of African origin. For subscription TV, 30% of the music broadcast must be Zimbabwean,
while a further 10% should be of African origin. Further, 10% of all productions must be of
other Zimbabwean vernacular languages other than Shona and isiNdebele (section 11(4)).
While in principle these requirements are laudable, in practice they are almost impossible to
achieve considering the poor state of the arts industry in the country right now.
There is virtually no support film and programming industry to assist licensees to get the
broadcast material to meet the quota. It is impossible to imagine that, even if Zimbabwe’s
broadcasting and arts industry is well-developed, say for instance, to South Africa’s standards
and capacity, licensees would be able to meet these steep requirements. The end result will
be poorly produced and re-repeated ‘dramas’, ‘street theatre’ plays, music videos and talk
shows which will soon lose appeal to viewers. There will simply be a dearth of material to
broadcast and it seems as if the mandatory requirements were made to ensure that very few
companies, if any, can invest in broadcasting, and thus maintain the ZBH monopoly.
The South African example:
In South Africa, local content is not legislated in terms of an Act of Parliament. The
Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act states that the regulator shall set local content
quotas (section 53 of the South African Independent Broadcasters Act [IBA].
In terms of the regulations, private broadcasters are required to carry at least 20% South
African content and are given a maximum of years to reach this quota unlike in Zimbabwe
where broadcasters are expected to reach their targets as soon as they first go on air.
Subscription TV is required to carry 15% South African local content and public television
50% (see the IBA Local Television Content Regulations (1997), sections 3, 4 and 5, and the
IBA Africa Music Regulations, (section 3).
Further, a prospective licensee is allowed to pledge the local content quota (above the
stipulated requirements) that they can meet, and state how they will meet this over years
upon getting the licence and they are bound by the law to meet their promised quotas.


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