Community radios to get licences: Prof Moyo

The minister of media, information and publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo has assured community radio stations that they will soon receive broadcasting licences following the digitalization process that ends in June 2015.


The minister was speaking to the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) board and secretariat members at his Munhumutapa offices accompanied by deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira on Thursday.

The digitalization process will culminate into the registration of more players in the broadcasting industry including community radio stations, the minister said.

“Everyone is talking about switching off but no one is talking about switching on,” Prof Moyo jokingly said.

ZACRAS also told the minister that community radio players continue to work in fear due to the sustained onslaught on community journalists by state authorities and cited the case of journalists from Radio Kwelaz who were arrested whilst carrying out their work. Minister Moyo said he was not aware of the arrests of these citizen journalists.

Responding to questions over the inaccessibility of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Professor Moyo said they will look at that but urged all stakeholders to bear in mind that BAZ is the licensing authority and issues concerning the operating environment should be addressed to them.

Minister Moyo also promised to look at the inclusion of community broadcasters in the recently constituted media probe committee after ZACRAS had expressed concern over its exclusion from the committee.

Professor Moyo said the ministry was concerned over the lack of shared understanding on the meaning of community radio and said the government looks at geographical communities that exist under the jurisdiction of chiefs with shared history, norms and values.

“No one is confused about what radio is but there is a lot of confusion about what community is,” Minister Moyo said. The minister said there should be as many community radios as there are districts.

ZACRAS was represented by its board members led by chairperson Gift Mambipiri and the secretariat led by the coordinator Vivian Marara.

Professor Jonathan Moyo was once the minister of information in the early 2000s but his tenure in government remains the darkest era in the history of Zimbabwean media after he went wild closing down independent media houses.

It remains to be seen if his second coming where he has promised to change for the better will be turned into positive action.

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