National Community Broadcasting Forum challenges Govt to free BAZ

By Nhau Mangirazi

HARARE- National Community Broadcasting Forum (NCBF) has challenged the Government to free Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to be independent in its mandate to license community radio stations.

In a statement on World Radio Day celebration commemorated every year on 13 February the forum said Government must ‘‘positively respond to calls to license and support community radio, while commendable need to be participatory, procedural, and democratic. Allow BAZ to exercise its role without undue interference. Also create a conducive and enabling media friendly environment which advances access to information and freedom of expression to communities,’

The statement further said, ‘NCBF acknowledges the enduring power of radio to promote diversity and the realization of a peaceful and inclusive nation. The NCBF believes that radio has a key function as a source of information and inspiration for communities,’

It further raised critical issues that include climate change and environment, gender and women empowerment; enhanced youth participation, conflict and peace building, health including reproductive health and HIV AIDS as being better addressed through radio.

‘These thematic areas for community broadcasting among other unique ones as informed by both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s Agenda 2060, are central to our programming. Our communities diverse, remote, vulnerable as they are, need this low-cost medium to participate in local and national discourses, regardless of educational level or social class,’ concluded the statement.

Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Radio Day held on the 13th of February 2020

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa recently said the government is on a drive to grow the broadcasting ind 2020ustry in Zimbabwe through establishing more community radio stations to give a voice to local communities.

Speaking at the launch of Chewa Community Radio in Shamva a few months ago, Mutsvangwa said, “Now is the time to grow the broadcasting industry in Zimbabwe through working together with local communities. Community radio stations are a vehicle for the development and establishment of these radio stations helps preserve the language, culture and identity of the local people,”

However, there is growing suspicion that Government has hijacked the program to ‘award some so called community radio stations yet they are extending their monopoly in news’