Radio stations demand a voice

The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations and the Media Institute of Southern Africa hosted a Community Radio Festival here over the weekend under the theme: A Decade of Waiting-give the Communities a Voice.

They said the government’s ongoing delays in granting communities their right to run and manage their broadcasting stations “makes Zimbabwe one of the few remaining dark spots on a regional map of countries with dozens of privately owned stations, including community radios.”

“We the community radio initiatives in Zimbabwe call upon the authorities to immediately call for license applications for aspiring community broadcasters in accordance with the law. We note with concern that while the authorities have made efforts in licensing commercial radios, no tangible action has been taken to open up the broadcasting space to allow for the setting up of community radios,” they said in a statement.

MISA Zimbabwe chairman, Njabulo Ncube, said the campaign for the opening up of the broadcasting industry remains critical.

ZACRAS members have accused the government of violating the country’s broadcasting law, which provides for the setting up of a three-tier broadcasting system, while also breaching regional and international protocols on broadcasting such as the African Broadcasting Charter.

“We are ready to broadcast and serve the communities at which we are based and from where we derive our mandate. In fact, we have been ready for the last 10 years. We believe that there is no reasonable justification for the continued denial of our liberty to exercise our right to freedom of expression and access to information through community radios,” they said.

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