Community Radio breaks culture of silence

HARARE - Community Radio Harare (CORAH)'s campaign for a community radio station is being supported by a growing number of Harare residents as an answer to the culture of silence currently prevailing in the city.
The radio initiative held a public meeting in Tafara recen

tly to demonstrate, through drama and open discussions, the potential benefits of the radio station (when it gets a broadcasting license) to its target community.
“We wish our radio station could get a broadcasting license soon so that we can have a channel through which to teach people about HIV and AIDS,” said Mrs. Joseline Manyeruke, an HIV/AIDS team leader in the suburb.
CORAH also held a road show in the high density suburb of Kambuzuma, which drew about 500 people who wanted to know about the potential benefits of the radio station.
The participants got a taste of the entertainment that CORAH FM said it could provide. In the true participatory spirit of a community radio, the CORAH Masters of Ceremonies’ showed readiness to open the stage to all who could sing and dance or ask any questions about Community Radio Harare.
A Kambuzuma musical group, Orchestra Mheremhere, that was reportedly unknown in the suburb seized the opportunity to showcase its music to the public.
“As artists we would like to use Communinity Radio Harare to advertise our music and showcase our talents,” said Orchestra Mheremhere spokesman.
Some Community Radio Harare ward coordinators who participated in this event saw this as an indicator of the success of the road show, in which CORAH had the immediate impact of bringing together – within an short space of only two hours – groups within the community that were previously unknown to each other.
Since the launch of its outreach programme in January 2006 CORAH has held five public meetings and a road show in the various suburbs of Harare and surrounding areas and has had a far-reaching impact in the various communities that it has interacted with. A direct result of this interaction has been the formation of ward committees in the various communities whose task is to spread the idea of community radio farther across Harare.
Community Radio Harare was formed in 2003 by a group of notable journalists and other stakeholders in Harare. It was conceived following the enactment of the Broadcasting Services Act (2001) that was intended to ‘free’ the airwaves in Zimbabwe. Although the Act created the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) for the purpose of issuing broadcasting licenses and regulating the operations of independent radio stations, not a single license has been issued to date, with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) maintaining a de facto monopoly on the airwaves. – Stewart Musiwa is the Coordinator of Community Radio Harare

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