Grant Other Players Licences: British Envoy Urges BAZ

Addressing a press conference held at Mimosa House in Bulawayo Tuesday, saying Britain felt that all applicants to operate independent commercial radio stations should have been granted licences by BAZ to promote democracy in the country.

BAZ has come under heavy criticism for denying Kiss FM and Radio VOP licences to broadcast in Zimbabwe.

The licencing authority only granted AB Communications and Zimpapers the go ahead to broadcast; raising eyebrows over whether the two will be able to operate independently since the former is linked to Zanu-PF while at the government has a majority stake in the latter.

“Certainly we support plurality in the media and that journalists should be able to report independently.

“To allow democratic debate and democracy to flourish, people should be able to hear disagreements. It is important for Zimbabwe as in the UK and any other country and it is part of Global Political Agreement (GPA)to have media plurality and that there would be diversity of view.

“We feel that all those that applied for licences should have been granted the operating licenses as we support media plurality.” Bronnert said in her response to the denial of operating licences to Radio VOP and Kiss FM.

“What we would like is to see the full implementation of the GPA in an appropriate way that allows and gives different voices not only in the print media but also in the broadcast media and that of course is something that the Zimbabwe government agreed to it themselves.”.

Media organisations like the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe ) has also condemned the denial of operating licences to Radio VOP and Kiss FM, saying it goes against government’s calls for media professionals outside the country to come back home.

“The licensing of the two applicants also brings into question the sincerity of the government’s calls for Zimbabwean journalists manning foreign-based stations to return home and legalise their operations,” said Misa-Zimbabwe in a statement to the media.

The MDC formations have also demanded the reconstitution of BAZ, which is headed by Tafataona Mahoso, who is seen as a Zanu-PF apologist and media hang-man.