Binga Community Radio Station Raises Eyebrows

Transmedia Corporation (Pvt) Ltd chief executive officer, Florence Sigudu –Matambo on Wednesday told state media that  her organisation had embarked on a transmission upgrading project in the area that would pave way for  the setting up of not only  the first  community radio station   in the area, but  in Zimbabwe.
“We stand guided by the wishes of the Binga community. If they want a community radio station, we are ready to provide them with training on how to produce their own local programming .This is the initiative of Minister of Information and Publicity Webster Shamu following his discussions with Binga local leadership,” said Matambo.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya said the government has no business in setting up community radio stations.
“The government‘s role is to facilitate a conducive environment for communities to set up their own radio stations.
“MISA and other organisations have been fighting for the opening up of the airwaves including the setting up of community radio stations but the government has not been willing. Why this sudden interest in Binga when scores of community radio initiatives throughout  the country are queuing to be licensed,” said Ngwenya in an interview with Radio VOP.
The Secretary of Ibhetshulikazulu, a local pressure group, Fuzayo Mbuso said it is clear that the government sponsored Binga community radio station is a political gimmick.
“Why has Tran media not been guided by the wishes of radio initiatives such as Radio Dialogue, Radio VOP and many more who have been denied licences to operate radio stations in this country?
“The government through the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority (BAZ) should simply allow more players to compete in the broadcasting sector. This current situation where the government is both the referee and the players is unacceptable,” said Mbuso.
A Binga councillor, Joe Mudenda said he is surprised that the government is coming up with a parallel community radio station when the community has already its own.
“This proposed community radio station came as result of a meeting which minister Shamu had with Zanu (PF) officials and chiefs early this year.
“Nobody was consulted and if the consultations were made, the people were going to simply reject this government sponsored radio station because we already have our own community radio initiative which is waiting to be licensed. This project is a Zanu (PF) propaganda tool,” said Mudenda.
He added that 20 Zanu (PF) activists in the area have already been identified to undergo training for the community radio station which Matambo said should be operational by the end of this month.