via SW Radio withdraws VMCZ membership NewsDay
SW RADIO, a privately-owned Zimbabwean radio station domiciled in the United Kingdom, has withdrawn its membership from the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) in protest against the council’s decision to congratulate Zi-FM Stereo Radio on its first anniversary.
Zi-FM, which is owned by newly-elected Zanu PF Nyanga South MP Supa Mandiwanzira, is perceived to be sympathetic to the ruling party.
In a statement, SW Radio director Gerry Jackson said: “As station manager, I have listened online to many of the discussions hosted by Mandiwanzira on his radio station. Most of them are fit only for broadcast on the State media. His discussion on private radio stations was nothing short of farcical.”
“He is now a Zanu PF MP and has shown his support for Zanu PF, which was the reason he was given a licence. There is a belief that Zi-FM is funded by State security,” she said.
Jackson also accused Mandiwanzira of working in cahoots with State security agents in several sting operations involving the Central Intelligence Organisation. However, VMCZ board chairperson Alec Muchadehama defended his organisation’s decision saying the VMCZ works with all media that subscribe to its code regardless of whether they are State or privately-controlled.
“The VMCZ in its congratulatory statement made no reference to personalities, but the institution that is Zi FM on the basis of its subscription to the VMCZ Media Code of Conduct,” said Muchadehama in a statement on Wednesday.
Contacted for comment, Mandiwanzira said: “The withdrawal is irrelevant. They voluntarily joined the VMCZ and they voluntarily withdrew. If it is true (what we are hearing), we think that they are a danger to the media industry. “In fact, it’s a pirate radio station that should never exist and those funding them should know they are funding a hostile institution.”