Community radio initiative launched

HARARE - A new community radio initiative, Community Radio Harare (CORAH), has been officially launched amid calls by the residents for the government to loosen the broadcasting legal framework and issue licences to potential broadcasters.

Stakeholders, who included ordinary Harare residents and civil society organisations, gathered here on Saturday and implored the government to issue a licence to this community initiative.

Stewart Musiwa, the coordinator, said community radio was key to local development. ‘Our vision in this whole endeavour is to see community radio playing a leading role in setting community-based developmental agendas and advocating democratic governance and freedom of expression. We are convinced that while the media in general play a critical role in bringing about democratic social change, community radio in particular, by virtue of it being participatory and community-driven, has a greater potential to do so,’ he added.

CORAH was formed in 2003 by a group journalists and residents in Harare, following the enactment of the Broadcasting Services Act (2001) that was intended to ‘free’ the airwaves. But not a single license has been issued to date, with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) maintaining a de facto monopoly on the airwaves. -  Givemore Chipere

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