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Zacras, Misa Challenge ED On Broadcasting Regime

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By Staff Reporter

Harare, February 14, 2017 - MEDIA based groups have called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to follow through on his vows to a free society through the licencing of genuine private broadcasters.

The new President has used different fora to vow his government’s commitment to free and fair elections coupled with the country’s reintegration into the broader world.

He has however come under fire from opponents and civil society for failure to make practical steps to fulfil his promises.

But in separate statements which coincided with the commemoration of World Radio Day on Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) and Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe) called on the new regime to licence private broadcasters as well as reveal the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).

“The clarion call by His Excellency President Mnangagwa to open up Zimbabwe for business must be accompanied by opening up the media space especially freeing the airwaves so that more players can be given space,” said Zacras.

“The broadcasting media has remained a preserve of a selected few and only those close to the ruling elite for a long time regardless of calls by various media stakeholders and advocates for the government to liberalise the airwaves.

“It is ZACRAS' position that the opening up of the airwaves which will see the licensing of the community radio initiatives that are scattered in the country, will be a practical demonstration of the new administration’s intention to do things differently.”

MISA-Zimbabwe lamented government’s continued failure to amend the “archaic” BSA which it said was outdated and did not take into account the ever changing broadcasting environment.

The media group also lamented the ownership of radio in Zimbabwe today which still remains in the hands of the elite and in particular, the government controlled ZimPapers and Cabinet minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s ABC Communications which have been issued with national and provincial commercial broadcasting licences.

“The BSA must be replaced by a law that, among other critical issues, converges the regulation of the broadcasting and communications sectors, guards against monopolies through cross ownership and allows for periodic applications for broadcasting services.

“That way diverse radio broadcasting will be made available to a cross section of interest and geographical communities in Zimbabwe,” Misa said.


This year’s World Radio Day was commemorated under the theme this day, under the theme, Radio, Sport and Cultural Diversity.

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