‘Community radios licensing soon’

via ‘Community radios licensing soon’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 27, 2015 by Phyllis Mbanje

LICENSING of community radio stations by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is expected to take place soon, a senior government official has said.

Director of Urban Communications in the Ministry of Information, Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi, however, said government was concerned about the funding of community radio initiatives.

He said money for community radio initiatives needed “cleansing” in order to dilute what he described as “hidden agendas” by foreign funders.

“If there is funding from outside the country, it should not be tied to certain agendas and so we should cleanse those funds, and then we will soon have community radios,” Mutambudzi told journalists in Masvingo attending a workshop on developmental reporting.

The workshop is organised by the United Nations.

Mutambudzi called for a proper definition of what community radio stations were, as there seemed to be a lot of misrepresentations.

“We are worried about the issue of ownership,” he said. “Where are they getting their money from, what is their interest?”

The Broadcasting Services Act recognises the three-tier broadcasting system and sets the criteria for the licensing process, but since 2011 when the legislation was amended, no licences have been issued for community radio stations.

At least 28 community radio initiatives currently exist, all unlicensed.

Amnesty International (AI) is on record saying wrong political attitude towards community radio stations was one of the major factors hindering the licensing of radio stations in Zimbabwe.

Community radios are critical in addressing social issues like child marriages and domestic violence.

They are also critical in reaching out to remote areas and also help to bring out voices of marginalised communities, which are often left out in the mainstream media.

In May this year, Simeon Mawanza from AI said the partisan attitude was depriving different communities of the important vehicle for development.

He said community radio stations should be seen as a vehicle for empowerment of those in the community so they take charge of their lives and enhance development processes within their communities.