Addressing journalists in Bulawayo last Thursday JOMIC member Qhubani Moyo who belongs to the Welshman Ncube led MDC said it is high time the country gets new independent radio and television stations like what happened to the newspaper industry.
“We call upon for the opening of the country’s airwaves with immediate effect , we need new independent radio and television stations, like what is happening in the newspapers where there is variety,” said Moyo.
Moyo also called for “Zimbabwe journalists to respect Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement GPA which prohibits them from hate speech”.
MDC-T JOMIC representative Tabitha Khumalo who also attended the function said journalists should not be harassed while doing their work.
Zimbabwe has no independent radio or TV stations at the moment.
Last year the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) only granted two licenses to AB Communications and Zimpapers’ Talk Radio which have links to Zanu-PF and the state respectively. While Radio VOP and Oliver Mtukudzi’s Kiss FM were denied radio broadcast licences.
Critics say Talk Radio and Zi Radio will never be able to operate independently because of their close ties to Zanu-PF and the state which has a majority stake at Zimpapers.
As a result of government’s reluctance to open up the airwaves offshore broadcasters such as Radio VOP, VOA’s Studio 7 and Shortwave Radio Africa are forced to broadcast on shortwave and have often been jammed by the government.
Critics note that Zimbabwe is the only country in southern Africa without independent or private broadcasters despite being the first country in the region to have a television broadcast as far back as the early 1960s.
South Africa, which established a television station in 1976, has several independent television stations and more than 100 private and community radio stations.