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Consititutional Court orders all Zimbabweans with gadgets that can receive signals to pay ZBC licence fees

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The Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe has delivered a ruling ordering all Zimbabweans to pay the broadcaster licence fees irrespective of which service provider they decide to use.

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This means that as long as you are a citizen with a device that can receive a signal you have to pay ZBC licence fees.

According to a report in Newsday, the Constitutional Court ruled that Zimbabweans weren’t being asked to pay for the services provided by the ZBC, but were instead compelled to pay a tax for possessing a device that can receive radio or TV signals.

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A constitutional challenge was made on the basis that compulsory payment for ZBC licenses violated the constitution because Zimbabweans were being forced to pay for services they didn’t want. This same argument has often been used by car owners with certain car stereo systems that can’t access radio stations.

It’s not yet clear how the ruling and the supporting legislation will deal with the realities of mobile technology. Thanks to internet services like streaming smartphones can offer the same functionality as TVs while several types of basic or dumb phones can carry radio signals.


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27 thoughts on “Consititutional Court orders all Zimbabweans with gadgets that can receive signals to pay ZBC licence fees

  1. Wonderful. I live ca 5 km from Pockets Hill but the only way I can get a ZBC signal is to get in my car and drive. Or put up one of those oldtime “5 meter high special antennas”. When someone I know is on radio (it happens) me and the kids sit in the car with phones and earphones. And for that I am supposed to pay a “house license”? The “car license” I can live with, at least that works

    1. It’s a gobal standard practice.

      In SA, before you even buy that TV, you purchase the license or present proof that you have one.

      They’re not so fussy about car radio licenses though

      1. It’s a gobal standard practice

        It’s common for public broadcasters to be financed by licence-holders (BBC, SABC) in order to protect the broadcaster’s independence (so no one in government can threaten to reduce funding). The ZBC is a state broadcaster and is not independent. It holds that it should be funded by the state because there is no independence to protect.

        1. Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

          SABC IS A STATE BROADCASTER.

          Google it!

          Even if you were right, being funded by the state inadvertently means being funded by the tax payer… which is you and I. Meaning you would even have less of a choice on the matter and you could potentially pay for licensing for something you dont use or own

          Even worse, meaning they can dip into the
          Lol

      2. Be careful when you claim things to be global practice, things with similarities also have differences. Besides, do you uphold laws in your country simply because other countries have them? It’s copying the “West” when it’s convenient for us, then tomorrow they are detractors. FYI: TV and radio licence fees were used in the times of Ian Smith to track which of the blacks had “propaganda” receiving devices. When the regime changed we kept some of the old laws without supporting reasoning.

        1. No need to be careful. Licenses have their place and purpose where public (AKA state) broadcasters exist.

  2. This is absurd, technology is moving fast, they’re lagging behind. This means almost everyone has to pay for this licence right, like the article mentioned, mobile phones can also operate as radio sets. I feel the government pulling us back to the ’90s where they’re still dwelling, an age when cell phones where still an idea, when people used to listen to radio from their cars and those Radio, device specifically meant for that function. What a desperate move to collect revenue.

  3. This is plain silly. This is akin to compelling every driver of a petrol motor vehicle to also buy a litre of diesel (or vice versa for a diesel car) every time they fill up a their car at the garage irrespective of the type of petrol they use. Or compelling a moslem to buy a kilo of pork, at the local butchery every time they go there to buy the met that they would prefer to eat. There is something unconstitutional about this ruling. Taxes are meant to be fair. If indeed this is meant to be the case then ALL LICENSED RADIO STATIONS MUST somehow enjoy a share of this ridiculous windfall. I smell an elections fund raising scheme right here……watch this space…

    1. Unfortunately this is reality world over, check this out:

      About the licence fee

      Everyone in the UK who watches or records TV programmes at the same as they are shown on TV needs to be covered by a TV licence. This includes TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and DVD/VHS recorders.

      The Government sets the level of the licence fee. In January 2007 the licence fee was agreed for a six-year period with the amount being approved each year by Parliament. More recently the Government decided to freeze the licence fee at its 2010 level of £145.50 until 31st March 2017.

      1. The BBC is not comparable to the ZBC, the former is a public broadcaster (exists to serve the public’s interest) and the latter is a state broadcaster (exists to serve the state/government). Licence fees are a mechanism to protect the editorial independence of public broadcasters by preventing the executive from directly controlling the purse-strings. My question to you is: does this even remotely apply to the ZBC?

      2. also with BBC the license fee you pay for your home covers all devices in your home and mobile devices + car radios for people that live in your home – they dont worry about radio licensing at all because the huge majority of car owners in UK will likely have a TV license at home

  4. You know what not also add Licences for Oxygen supply, since you’re really desperate for money kkkkkkkk

  5. About the licence fee

    Everyone in the UK who watches or records TV programmes at the same as they are shown on TV needs to be covered by a TV licence. This includes TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and DVD/VHS recorders.

    The Government sets the level of the licence fee. In January 2007 the licence fee was agreed for a six-year period with the amount being approved each year by Parliament. More recently the Government decided to freeze the licence fee at its 2010 level of £145.50 until 31st March 2017.

  6. l have always said when push gets to shove government will introduce tax for owning a cellphone. Here it is disguised as Zbc licence. Desperate times call for desperate measures and right now government more than desperate.

  7. Uchaona ZRP ne ZBC vakuita fundraising pama roadblock. Mari yacho inodyiwa nembavha dziri muhurumende. Haitomboshandiswi kuita programming chaiyo.
    ZBC yachowo futi inoreva nhema. Vamwe hatitombobati signal, zvonzi bhadhara.
    Kungoda kutorera varombo svimari svishoma svatinatwo. Dai vachiita ma program ane musoro, waibhadharawo ka uchiziva kuti ucha nakirwa

  8. LOL! I can see the police and ZBC inspectors mounting roadblocks for pedestrians “Let’s see you cellphone licence!” . But on a more serious note. It will be easy for them to “levy” the licence fee via an additional tax on airtime. Or levy a yearly charge on cellphone lines. Line gets disconnected if you haven’t paid. If you are desperate you will find a way!!

  9. Since most phones will not turn on the FM radio function unless earphones are plugged into them, does this mean we r not required to have a licence unless we have earphones?

  10. unfortunately this government is seriously aiding citizens not to believe in fuelling movements like #thisflag… Any how its a judgement they will never enforce …. rest peace ZANU PF

  11. if our state broadcaster was indeed independent and fair and had decent programming, I would not mind paying the fee. But all we end up doing is funding the propaganda machinery of Zanu PF. The principle of the licence was held up by the court that looked at the law and nothing else. Its just that in other countries the broadcaster has something to of substance to offer. Here its unbelievably terrible. I’ve seen wooden shacks with satellite dishes! People go to great lengths to escape ZTV in particular. In the absence of sattelite TV I’d be better off watching the football (in fact I think I’ll get it out the cupboard and place it on my table now.)

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