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Broadcasting Authority Of Zimbabwe Inviting Applications For Licenses For Some Stuff We Didn’t Know Needed Licensing

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YouTube, Internet Video

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has published an invitation for those interested in being licensed for what they called ‘classes that do not require allocation or use of frequencies.’ They went on to define these classes as:

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  • Video on Demand Services (VOD)
  • Webcasting services
  • Content Distribution Services

In fact, here’s the advert quoted below as it appeared in the newspaper:

BROADCASTING AUTHORITY OF ZIMBABWE

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NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe wishes to advise interested persons who intend to provide classes of broadcasting services that do not require allocation or use of frequencies, such as those listed below, to submit their applications at any time for consideration by the Authority:

1. Video On Demand Service

11. Web casting Service

111. Content Distribution Service

Applicants are advised to acquaint themselves with the qualification criteria stipulated in the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06]. The application forms can be collected from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe at 27 Boscobel West Drive, Highlands, Harare or can be downloaded from the Authority’s website at www.baz.co.zw

For more information contact us on: (04) 443 465-67.

“Celebration and expression of our cultural identity through Broadcasting”

Questions for BAZ

These classes are too generic to be meaningful. What do they mean license for a VOD service? Is Netflix breaking the law just by being available in Zimbabwe or did they license Netflix? How about YouTube? Did they license Google to make YouTube available in Zimbabwe? Does that mean you and I need to be licensed by BAZ to have YouTube channels?

Webcasting services is no better or even worse. We looked for a definition of that service from their website and of course we didn’t find nothing. No definition for webcasting services, for video on demand services and non for content distribution services. If webcasting means what it usually means then it means you need the blessing of BAZ to take out your phone and livestream on Facebook or YouTube or whatever.

Could it be more ambiguous? Yes, it could. The invitation from BAZ also mentions content distribution services. Now, everyone on WhatsApp may need a license of their own especially those that forward a lot. Unless content distribution does not mean content distribution.

These questions are important for all of us so we know if we are on the right side of the law or we need to form a queue at BAZ to get licensed. We are reaching out to BAZ to get definitions of these terms that they just placed in a newspaper.

When Laws Get Overtaken By Technology

Technology is disrupting everything including the legal frameworks that existed and were relevant only a few years ago. The internet has just broken down silos and walls built around industries and it is difficult for governments to regulate business and other areas. Not that governments won’t try…

How does BAZ plan on regulating the services they listed above and make sure everyone is licensed? Will individuals go to BAZ seeking such licensing knowing fully well that BAZ may turn them down or take their time or license them with some ridiculous restrictions? By that time it will be too late to go back because such an individual would have placed themselves under the radar of BAZ.

Can BAZ Legally Place The Ad They Placed?

BAZ does not yet have a board therefore it is not clear by whose authority the invitation for license applications was issued. As it is, they have their hands full with the whole Kwese/Dr Dish saga. As the professor would say, handei tione….


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22 thoughts on “Broadcasting Authority Of Zimbabwe Inviting Applications For Licenses For Some Stuff We Didn’t Know Needed Licensing

  1. “we didn’t find nothing” or “we didn’t find Anything”? If you “we didn’t find nothing” then you found something……..

  2. These guys are so desperate to such an extent they fail to license things which they are sure are under their jurisdiction now they want to license things they don’t know at all.They want to turn away our attention from their failures in Digitalisation

  3. Now thats an outdated Law Enforcer, Facebook was 2004, Netflix not available in Zimbabwe 2001, Internet was available in Zimbabwe (Streamable) in about 2005, YouTube 2006…….so it needs to specify and do some good laws…….people even sale pirated discs in a shop…….Zimbabwe is messed up!!!

  4. ONE – Saka not only is Youtube illegal but will never be legal according to BAZ regulations because they are not Zimbabwean? – 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
    TWO – What about user generated content? 2.1million Zimbabweans are creating content everyday. Does Facebook/Youtube get a licence on behalf of its users? Oh no they cant cos they are Zimbabweans.
    THREE – Is this for content by Zimbabweans or Content in Zimbabwean servers or Content for Zimbabwe.
    SOLUTIONS: If this madness continues just email someone outside the country your content so that they make it public for you.

      1. Not really, that is why selection of Board Members is in progress to realign the act in compliance with the constitution. Tinashe we are looking up to you, on an update of what came out of the BAZ Board Interviews on 8 December 2017.

        1. We will follow up on the progress of the assignment of board members definitely. The majority of that board must be appointed by the president according to the constitution. I think it should have been the other way round BUT it is what it is…
          I think that the act is too misaligned to be redeemable as is but then again I am a novice here

  5. kkkk how are they going to regulate it kk. this is a failed body wch shld b jus disbanded. they hav failed in everyway. we hav been waiting for this migration for yrs now. they wasted the time of independent producers promised them the heavens and earth bt nothing. shut the hole thing down its a useless body

    1. Thanks Wasu, we looked for this on their site before and couldn’t get.
      Interesting definitions some of them, we will have to cover that. Some of that answers the questions raised but the other ones are still very ambiguous

  6. “on demand service ”means a service through which video or audio content is delivered at the request of persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that service and is made available to persons with or without payment and of subscription fee ,whether such payment is periodical or otherwise , and whether or not such fee is charged on its forms part of a fee for multiple services including the on demand service;

    15. Video on Demand
    (a)Application fee initial US$2500 (non-refundable)
    (b)Basic Licence Fee for three years US$20 000 per annum plus regulatory fees amounting to 2% monthly subscription turn over or deemed turnover

  7. 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.
    (k)content distribution service
    (l) video on demand
    “ broadcasting service”means any service which delivers television or radio programmes to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that service,whether the delivery is effected by the means of uses the radio frequency spectrum ,cable ,optical fibre ,satellite or any other means or combination of those means ,and includes any service referred to in paragraph (a) to (j)

    “cable broadcasting service” means a broadcasting service which transmits programmes by means of a telecommunication service, other than a radiocommunication service, as defined in the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05], for reception at two or more places, whether simultaneously or at different times;

    “content distribution service ” means a service provided by a content distributor comprising content aggregated within and outside Zimbabwe that is made available in Zimbabwe with or without payment of a subscription fee and the reception is through satellite;

    “content distributor ” means a person who provides a content distribution service ;
    “commercial broadcasting service” means a free-to-air (radio or television) broadcasting service operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise which:-
    (a) is intended or appears to be intended to appeal to the general public; and
    (b) is capable of being received by commonly available equipment

    “commercial radio broadcasting service” means a commercial audio-broadcasting service;

    “commercial television broadcasting service” means an audio-visual commercial broadcasting service;

    “community broadcasting service” means a free-to-air (radio or television) broadcasting service not operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise which
    (a) provides programmes
    (i) for community purposes; and
    (ii) is capable of being received by commonly available equipment; and
    (b) does not broadcast programmes or advertisements on behalf of any political party

    “datacasting service” means an information service that delivers information, whether in the form of data,text, speeches, images or any other form, to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that information, where the delivery of the service uses the broadcasting service bands;

    “diffusion service” includes the dissemination
    (a) by means of any conducting medium of the whole or any part of writing, signs, signals, pictures, impulses or sounds broadcast by a broadcasting service; or
    (b) of music, speech, pictures or other data for information, education or entertainment purposes by means of any conducting medium connected to two or more items of apparatus specifically designed for the reproduction of sound, pictures or data; or
    (c) of teletext and vertical blanking intervals;

    “free-to-air broadcasting service” means any broadcasting service transmitted otherwise than by means of an encoded signal;

    “national broadcasting service” means a free-to-air community or commercial broadcasting service whose licence area is the whole of Zimbabwe;

    “on demand service ”means a service through which video or audio content is delivered at the request of persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that service and is made available to persons with or without payment and of subscription fee ,whether such payment is periodical or
    otherwise , and whether or not such fee is charged on its forms part of a fee for multiple services including the on demand service;

    “open narrowcasting service” means a broadcasting service, including a diffusion service
    (a) which is not made available to persons on payment of any subscription fee; and
    (b) the reception of which is limited by reason of
    (i) being targeted to any special interest group or not being otherwise intended to appeal to the general public; or
    (ii) being intended only for reception in particular locations, including arenas or business premises; or
    (iii) being provided during a limited period or to cover a special event; or is limited for some other reason;

    “public broadcaster” means the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation referred to in section 3 of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Act [Chapter 12:01] or any other broadcasting entity established by law which is wholly owned or controlled by the State;

    “railcasting” means the broadcasting of pre-recorded programmes for reception by passengers of any railway service;

    “roadcasting” means the broadcasting of pre-recorded programmes for reception by passengers of any public service vehicle as defined in the Road Traffic Act [Chapter 13:11];

    “signal carrier ”means a signal transmitting station that includes the apparatus for the transmission of a radio or television broadcasting service ;

    “signal transmitting station ” means a radio transmitting station as defined in the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05) or other station which is used for the purpose of transmitting a broadcasting service;

    “subscription broadcasting service” includes a subscription satellite, subscription narrowcasting and subscription cable broadcasting service;

    “subscription cable broadcasting service” means a broadcasting service, including a diffusion service, which
    (a) is made available to members of the general public on payment of a subscription fee, whether such payment is periodical or otherwise, and whether or not such fee is charged on its own or forms part of a fee for multiple services including the broadcasting service; and
    (b) provides programmes intended, or that appear to be intended, to appeal to the general public
    “subscription narrowcasting service” means a broadcasting service, including a diffusion service:-
    (a) which is made available to persons on payment of a subscription fee, whether such payment is periodical or otherwise, and whether or not such fee is charged on its own or forms part of a fee for multiple services including the narrowcasting service; and
    (b) the reception of which is limited by reason of
    (i) being targeted to any special interest group or not otherwise intended to appeal to the general public; or
    (ii) being intended only for reception in particular locations, including arenas or business premises;
    (iii) being provided during a limited period or to cover a special event; or is limited for some other reason;

    “webcasting service” means a computer-mediated broadcasting service.

  8. Ngava tikwanire vanhu ve BAZ… Kkkkkk… Endai munobvunza vanoziva musati maburitsa zvinhu mu ma pepanhau

  9. So this means malectures anoitwa over the internet ese achawedzera fees dzechikoro ka….lol…these fellaz dont know what they are talking about…

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