By Nkosana Dlamini
London, UK, December 7, 2014-The advent of new communication devices and Social Media has created fresh broadcasting
platforms for exiled radio stations, which have survived repeated
shutdown attempts by oppressive regimes worldwide, Radio Voice of the
People (VOP) executive director John Masuku has said.
Masuku was giving his remarks during the annual Exiled Media
conference held in London, United Kingdon this week.
The conference draws dozens of exiled news organisations from some of
the world’s most media unfriendly regimes.
Radio VOP is among four radio initiatives that are transmitting via
ChannelZim, a fast growing broadcasting platform which uses satellite
television and internet streaming to broadcast the latest news and talk shows.
Until ChannelZim’s launch two years ago, Radio VOP and other inigtiatives were only using the
Shortwave band which was under constant attempts to scramble its
broadcasts by the state as a way of suppressing critical voices.
ChannelZim provides much clearer signal and is a largely affordable
means by ordinary listeners who own WizTech decoders and DSTV.
Zimbabwe’s broadcasting industry is still under the firm control of
President Robert Mugabe’s government while the biggest beneficiaries
of a recent attempt to open up the airwaves to private players have
been individuals with direct links to Zanu PF.
Meanwhile, Masuku has urged fellow operators of exiled media
organisations and researchers to document the work of exiled media
to be used in the coming years for reflection and study purposes as well as
to inspire future generations.
“Let us not forget to document some of the activities that we
have in the fight for freedom of expression, let us find a way of writing about those activities. They
are very important,” he said, adding that exiled media should not use
their territorial independence to slander their oppressors but should report and document professionally.
“We would be balanced, make sure everyone would be written about,
researched about, talked about so that the future generations know
about some of these roads as that we have travelled,” Masuku said.
The exiled media conference is an annual event which brings together
dozens of news based organisations and journalists forced out of
their own countries by repressive regimes.
The forum allows the organisations to learn new strategies, share
experiences and also to network.
Besides Radio VOP also present was Shortwave Radio Africa founder
Gerry Jackson and The Zimbabwean weekly newspaper whose directors are
still living in exile.SWRAfrica was shut down in August due to sustainability challenges
Among the countries represented were Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Ethiopia,Syria,
Iran, Russia, Sri Lanka, Syria and Turkmenistan.