BAZ foolish, says Aus envoy

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s decision to grant radio licenses to only two applicants is ‘‘foolish’’ says the Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Matthew Neuhaus.

Supa Mandiwanzira
Supa Mandiwanzira

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean in Harare this week Neuhaus, said: “An FM radio in particular is really important. I don’t know why people keep on talking of two radio licenses – to me that’s foolish.”

Neuhaus said Zimbabwe had the capacity to host seven or eight national television stations. “There should be hundreds of radio licences and seven or eight national television stations, because this country can afford them. Community radio is very cheap. There should be many FM radios,” said the Ambassador.

BAZ earlier this year conducted interviews for two commercial radio licences that were won by Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and the Supa Mandiwanzira AB Communications.

Radio Vop and Kiss, the other applicants, were not successful, but media watchdogs and civil society dismissed the interviews as a farce, accusing BAZ of being partisan and favouring applicants aligned to Zanu (PF).

Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, is on record saying the government cannot award licences to foreign owned stations, describing them as pirates. “They are after regime change. We want indigenous, independent and sovereign stations, not those that are sent to cause chaos in here,” Chinamasa said at press conference.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai has in the past promised that the BAZ would be reconstituted to make it non-partisan, but has failed to do so in the face of stiff resistance from Zanu (PF).

Attempts by civil society to set up community radios have met with strong resistance from the Zanu (PF) side of government.

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