Are Cellphone and tablet owners required to have a ZBC radio license?

The Claim: A court ruling that all cellphone and tablet users must buy a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) radio license.
The Verdict: claim verdict

SOURCE: An online picture was trending on Tuesday 21 July.

According to the judgement delivered by the then Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba:

“All persons, who have in their possession equipment capable of receiving broadcasting services, bear the obligation to pay the licence fee for possession of the gadget,” read the judgement in part.

VERDICT : “In other words, the gadget does not have to be a television set or radio set. It can be a smart phone, for example, provided it is capable of receiving television or radio programmes as they are being broadcast,” the judge said.

The article in question was published in 2016 following a Constitutional Court ruling on the payment of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television and radio licences.

The picture in circulation was posted on My Zimbabwe News Facebook page on 20 July 2016.

This was followed by an article which was published on the Zimbabwe Today website on July 21 2016.

Background

The story was first published in 2016 by NewsDay Newspaper

According to the article, the Constitutional Court had delivered a landmark that every citizen is compelled to pay ZBC television and radio licences, even if they do not use any of the services.

This was after one Bernard Wekare and Musangano Lodge approached the court challenging the compulsory payment of ZBC license arguing it was in violation of the country’s constitution since citizens were being forced to pay for services they did not want to watch or listen to.

According to the judgement delivered by the then Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba:

“All persons, who have in their possession equipment capable of receiving broadcasting services, bear the obligation to pay the licence fee for possession of the gadget,” read the judgement in part.

“It would not matter for the purpose of the obligation to pay the licence fee for possession of a receiver in terms of section 38b(1) of the (Broadcasting Services) Act, that there is no signal from ZBC reaching the area, where the equipment is located or that one prefers to watch DStv programmes. Payment of tax has always been a social responsibility of the individual placed under the obligation to pay.”

According to the judgement, the receiver did not mean a television or radio set only.

“In other words, the gadget does not have to be a television set or radio set. It can be a smart phone, for example, provided it is capable of receiving television or radio programmes as they are being broadcast,” the judge said.

Some listeners in Zimbabwe are generally reluctant to pay ZBC license fees as they argue that that national broadcaster does not broadcast quality programs and is biased to a particular political party

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