THE struggling Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) will soon replace the controversial viewers’ and listeners’ licences with the encryption of its signals, a cabinet minister has revealed.
The development would mean that only those interested in the broadcaster’s programming pay for the services compared to the current arrangement whereby people pay for possession of a radio or television signal receiving device.
ZBC has deployed licence fee collectors across the country as the broadcaster struggles to raise income after being deserted by advertisers who feel Zimbabweans do no watch its programming due to poor quality and perceived pro-Zanu PF bias.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club Friday, information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said the technological modalities of collecting the pre-paid television viewing fees were currently being finalised.
“We are looking forward to the elimination of the current licences for television so that no viewer can be bothered by ZBC licence inspectors at their doors. They won’t come to your house any more” said minister Moyo.
Transmedia and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority (BAZ) are spearheading the new technological television services billing system, Moyo said.
The move is likely to be welcomed by most viewers and listeners who have accused the national broadcaster of forcing them to pay for licences when they do not watch its programming.
Harare Lawyer and opposition MDC –T legislator Jessie Majome last year approached the Constitutional Court seeking to force the state broadcaster to encrypt its signal so that it is only received by those who wish to associate with its programmes.