Community radio critical for diversity

The establishment of community radio stations is critical in promoting the voices of marginalised communities, says the Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gera Sneller.

Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gera Sneller.
Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gera Sneller.

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean Sneller said the establishment of more players in the media industry promoted diversity and amplified the voices of marginalised communities.

Last week, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) revealed that out of the 21 applications received, 18 had been shortlisted for commercial radio broadcasting licences. Commercial radio derives its operating budget from selling advertising. BAZ said the applications were from nine out of the 25 areas that they were invited for. It is now in the process of preparing for public hearings on dates, venues and times to be advised through written and published notices as stipulated by the Broadcasting Services Act.

“This is a welcome development because if you have more than one radio station, you have the chance of having more than one voice,” said Sneller. But the licencing of more radio stations was not a guarantee for the inclusion of the voices of the marginalised in the media, she added.

“On the other hand, having a greater number of players in the media does not mean that there is greater diversity. If all those stations will be based in Harare and maybe Bulawayo and they will only have music or talk radio, that does not promote diversity,” she said, adding that the ideal situation would be the establishment of community radio stations to ensure the inclusivity of marginalised and rural communities.

“Journalists can go out the ordinary people that live in marginalised communities. They can come up with amazing solutions to their problems,” she said.

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