Amnesty calls for community radio licences

Amnesty International has urged the government to licence community radio stations to enhance media diversity.

Twenty-eight community radio organisations have been waiting for years to be granted authority to broadcast. “The Zimbabwean government must give priority to licensing of community radio stations and see them as equally important tools to address some of the human rights and developmental challenges facing the country,” said the global human rights watchdog.

“Unfortunately, the attitude of the government towards those campaigning for licensing of community radio stations has been informed by the fear of landing radio broadcasting in the hands of their political opponents.”

Despite this reluctance, noted Amnesty, community radios could be used to foster development and promote the right to freedom of expression in a country where the official broadcaster’s reach is limited. Content from ZBH and that of the two national commercial radio stations, Star FM and ZiFM “rarely covers local issues and there is very little direct interaction with the communities” says its latest report.

Amnesty added that community radio stations could give isolated and marginalised communities a means of education, self-expression and communication, while also promoting the community’s history, music and oral traditions in both rural and urban communities. “Zimbabwe must fulfil its legal obligation to extend the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and the right to information of marginalized communities,” said AI.

Post published in: Human Rights

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