Econet Media Limited (Mauritius) owned Kwese TV stopped operations in Zimbabwe yesterday after the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) successfully approached the Supreme Court challenging a High Court decision to overturn a ban it had earlier placed on the satellite broadcaster.
Last month, BAZ banned Kwese TV from operating, arguing that the licence of its content distribution partner – Dr Dish – was specific to the provision of My TV Africa services only.
The ban was later overturned by High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe after Dr Dish filed an urgent application arguing that it could suffer financial prejudice if the ban was effected.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, BAZ filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court seeking the overturning of the High Court decision.
Dr Dish has since approached the High Court with an urgent chamber application for permission to operate pending the Supreme Court determination.
However, sources inside Econet, the owners of Kwese TV, say the broadcaster has suspended operations and hundreds of workers recruited to drive the initiative have been sent home.
Econet yesterday released a statement confirming that it had suspended its services and is now offering refund to over 35 000 subscribers.
“We would like to inform you that the broadcasting of the Kwese TV service has been temporarily suspended following an appeal to the Supreme Court by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe,” reads the statement.
“We have approached the High Court on an urgent basis for permission to continue broadcasting pending determination of the appeal in the High Court.
“In the meantime, we are happy to make a refund to you at any point in time, should you so wish. You can, however, keep your installed decoder and equipment until the ruling is issued.”
Executive assistant to Econet Group chief executive officer Mr Lovemore Nyatsine declined to release more information on the matter.
“In any case this is not an Econet issue, it is between Dr Dish and BAZ , that’s all we can say for now,” he said.
“We simply have to wait for the courts.”
In 2007, Dr Dish was issued a licence to provide MY TV channels to Zimbabwean viewers but it struggled to pay the required fees for years.
It failed to provide the service until BAZ issued a notice of intention to cancel the licence in October last year.
Last month, Dr Dish partnered Econet Media Limited (Mauritius) and paid all the outstanding fees before notifying BAZ of its intention to include Kwese TV channels on its content.
BAZ received the money but went on to terminate the licence through a letter in August.
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