Broadcasting Services Act
Fact Sheet Ten:
The Broadcasting Fund (BF)
The Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) (2001) provides for the establishment of a Broadcasting
Fund (BF) that is to be administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) acting
as a trust fund board.
Purpose of the Fund:
The main purpose of the Fund is to act as a ready source of funds for local authorities for the
purposes of availing broadcasting services to disadvantaged communities that are unable to
afford televisions and radio sets and other ancillary components; to assist in the training
services of personnel interests; promote the provision of broadcasting equipment from other
investment partners; provide funds for the promotion of the cultural industry in Zimbabwe for
the purposes of promoting the country’s film and music industry.
Whilst these specified functions of the BF are somewhat commendable, they have serious
implications. Where the BF is supposed to assist in the procurement of broadcasting
equipment from foreign sources, simultaneously those that are licensed by the BAZ are
unable to receive either foreign funding or any other form of foreign investment.
The Act, in establishing the BF pretends to be generous to aspiring broadcasters as well as to
the disadvantaged, yet the truth of the matter is that there is an evident intention to
monopolise goodwill and create a system of patronage. All aspiring broadcasters should be
able to acquire foreign assistance in the acquisition of broadcasting equipment as opposed to
waiting for the BAZ through the BF to acquire it for them.
The BF is supposed to be financed mainly from levies imposed on licensees of the BAZ and
money acquired through an act of parliament of Zimbabwe. The levies are unfortunately
decided solely by the BAZ acting as a board of trustees of the fund and any licensee that fails
to meet the required levy shall be subject to a fine or risk having their licence suspended or
An example is the South African Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). The
Agency was set up to allow communities that are either historically or materially
disadvantaged in relation to access to the media to access broadcasting services through
financial assistance for small to medium community based media projects.
Ever since the BSA was passed, the Fund has neither been utilized because there have been
no broadcasters granted an operating licence effect the charging of levies nor has its current
financial status been made public. There are no stipulations within the BSA that insist on the
accounts and usage of the Fund to be made public and scrutinised.
Moreover there are no provisions that address the actual impact the funds are to have on the
development of the broadcasting industry in Zimbabwe. The audit of the Fund should not only
relate to accounting, but also be done within the ambit of a cost benefit analysis to the
broadcasting industry.


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