Broadcasting as an industy and as a practice is an integral mechanism for the promotion of freedom of expression and access to information by members of the public. The Broadcasting indusry plays a crucial role in economic development through creation of employment opportunities. The Broadcasting industry is critical in developing artistic talent and showcasing a nation's culture and traditions to the world. In an effort to improve the broadcasting environment, the Government is implementing the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project (ZDBMP), aimed at replacing the current analogue television broadcasting system to the new digital broadcasting platform in line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) requirements. During the Official Opening of the 3rd Session of the 86 Parliament, the President, His Excellency, Cde R. G Mugabe indicated that government has embarked on a US$125 million digitization program.
ln addition, the 2016 National Budget Statement emphasized the importance of the project by noting that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) had earmarked US$132 million from the Broadcasting Fund for this purpose. Pursuant to its oversight function, the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services resolved conducted an inquiry into the progress made towards the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project. This report also follows the Committee's First Report on "Alignment of media Laws and progress made towards fulfiliment of digitalization" which was produced in the 1" Session of the 8ft Pariiament.
The Committee was guided by the following objectives;
- To track and monitor progress towards fulfillment of the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project;
- To evaluate value for money with regard to the work on the ground;
- Identify challenges and prospects on both legislation and policy and;
- Offer recommendations for improvements.
The Committee employed the foliowing snategies in its inquiry;
3.1 Oral evidence sessions.
The Committee conducted an oral evidence session wi& the Pemranent Secretary for the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Mr. G. Charamba. The Committee was updated on the progress made regarding television digitalizsli6n programme as well as the Ministry's efforts on aligning media laws with the Constitution. The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services establishment a Steering Committee comprises of Transmedia, Broadcastirig Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) with BAZ acting as the head of the project to manage the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project. The Committee also received oral presentation from the Steering Committee and was updated on the work on the ground regarding the engineering aspect of the digitalization program. In addition, the Committee received written submissions from the Permanent Secretary.