Radio VOP Charts Way Forward

Masuku said Radio VOP’s board was yet to come up with a concrete resolution on the way forward after the denial of an operating licence.

“The board is meeting and discussing what action to take after we were denied an operating licence. We are yet to come up with a decision. I cannot pre-empt what has been discussed so far and what options have been put on the table,” Masuku said in a telephone interview on Wednesday morning.

Radio VOP and Oliver Mtukudzi’s Kiss FM were denied radio broadcast licences by BAZ which has since come under heavy condemnation for only granting a go-ahead to AB Communications and Zimpapers which have links to Zanu-PF and the state respectively.

Critics say the two 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.

But Supa Mandiwanzira with a controlling stake at AB Communications, has denied the charge and called on Zimbabweans to ‘give him a chance to broadcast and then judge him later.’

Media lobby groups say by denying Radio VOP and Kiss FM operating licences, BAZ is estranging the state’s monopoly over the airwaves.

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.