Zacras demands people-centred radio stations

Source: Zacras demands people-centred radio stations – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira     13 February 2017

HARARE – As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in celebrating the World
Radio Day today, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations
(Zacras) has bemoaned government’s failure to license “people-centred”
community radio stations.

Zacras chairperson John Chirinda, said community stations are crucial in
promoting development, freedom of expression and access to information

“… it is regrettable that no community radios have been licensed to
broadcast on FM. This is despite the inherent power that community radio
has in empowering citizens to be their own information producers and
distributors,” Chirinda said.

The government has been under immense pressure to license more radio
stations in the country, after only licensing a few radio stations owned
by people with ties to government.

The broadcasting industry is dominated by the State-run broadcaster ZBC
and the eight so-called private radio stations that have been licensed are
either failing to go on air or to stay afloat.

“More still needs to be done to ensure that not only plurality but also
diversity is realised in the broadcasting field.

“It is positive to note that technological advancement and increase in
Internet penetration in Zimbabwe has enabled citizens to listen to
Internet radio.”

However, high Internet costs and limited Internet access in peri-urban and
rural communities deter listeners in some sections of Zimbabwean society
from accessing radio. This is worsened by the fact that broadcasts by
public and commercial stations in Zimbabwe are not accessible and
applicable to the diverse sections of society, either because of language
barriers, content relevance or weak signals,” he said.

He further called upon the government to expedite the process of aligning
the country’s media laws with the Constitution and license more
people-centred community radio stations.