Commercial radio shortlisting slammed for favouring ZANU PF

The process of shortlisting four possible candidates to receive commercial radio licences is being slammed as favouring ZANU PF linked groups, amid speculation that the final decision has already been made.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) this week started chairing the public hearings of the four shortlisted candidates, who include KISS FM, the Zimpapers Talk Radio project, AB Communications and Radio VOP (Voice of the People). At least 11 other applicants were not accepted, but BAZ has not explained why.

The Chairman of the media watchdog group MISA-Zimbabwe, Njabulo Ncube, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the shortlisting process has been completely non transparent, and so far there has been no explanation for the reason why the four were shortlisted and the others were not. He said that these are the very serious questions that need answering.

“We need to know what criteria the other groups did not meet. We need to know how the BAZ came to this decision. All this needs to be put on the table,” Ncube said.

He added: “We expected more diversity than what we have. If BAZ was genuine about the merits of this exercise and of having free, non partisan information, then they would have licensed community radio stations first.”

He also slammed the inclusion of Zimpapers in the list of shortlisted applicants, arguing that: “Zimpapers already has a dominance in the print media. This is a sign that the ZANU PF side of government wants to perpetuate its monopoly in the broadcasting sector too.”

The MISA-Zimbabwe Chairman also accused the other shortlisted candidates of having questionable links to ZANU PF. KISS FM is partnering with ZBC to provide news broadcasts, while AB Communications is led by Supa Mandiwanzira, who until recently was the President of the ZANU PF Affirmative Action Group (AAG). That leaves Radio VOP, which Ncube said has been shortlisted only as an attempt to give the process credibility.

“The general consensus is that the two successful applicants might already have been handpicked to suit the purpose of a particular party. This is just a choreographed process,” Ncube said.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *