Radio licences in demand

HARARE - Prospective community Radio Station broadcasters have lambasted the delays in issuing operating licences by the Inclusive Government, and have called for the government to act soon to allow the stations to reach the community.

Stewart Musiwaze of the Zimbabwe Community Radio Stations Association (ZCRSA) said that the association was worried by the delays in constituting the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). He compared it to the relative ease with which the print media was able to get the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

“The government is still to free the airwaves, nothing is happening on the broadcasting front, we are told that BAZ is yet to be sworn in by the President, but it is taking too long. Surprisingly our comrades in the print media who have been granted licenses are silent on the matter, he said. In 2001 the then Zanu (PF) government introduced the Broadcasting Services Act,

which was ostensibly designed to end the ZBC monopoly on the airwaves, but to date no private broadcaster has been granted a licence. Capital Radio Station, a community radio station which in 2003 sought to broadcast in Harare, was shut down by the then Zanu (PF) government.

“Nine years since the BSA no private broadcaster has been granted a licence, ZBC maintains its monopoly and continues to be partisan. With the advent of the Inclusive Government we in broadcasting were hopeful that we could finally get the licenses, but that has not occurred, said Musiwaze. The continued reluctance to offer licenses to private broadcasters has seen the establishment of extra terrestrial radio stations.

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