By Online Reporter
In a landmark development, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has announced the licensing of eight community radio stations across the country.
In a statement, BAZ announced the licensing of Matobo Community Radio Trust, Ndau Community Radio Trust and Chimanimani Community Radio Trust.
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) members such as Twasumpuka Community Radio Trust, Radio Bukalanga (Pvt) Ltd, Vemuganga Community Radio Trust, Madziwa Community Radio Trust and Patsaka Nyaminyami Community Radio Trust trading as Kasambabezi FM were also given licences.
ZACRAS has been a long-term partner of International Media Support (IMS) and Fojo Media Institute since inception and a regular critic of the government over the delays in licensing the community radios.
The membership-based non-profit making association, which was established in 2003 to promote community radio interests in Zimbabwe, said the licensing of the eight additional community radio stations was a positive step towards achieving broadcasting diversity and plurality.
“Over the years, ZACRAS has been advocating for the licensing of community radio stations in Zimbabwe. We therefore commend the Government of Zimbabwe for taking evident measures towards ensuring broadcasting diversity and plurality in the sector,” it said in a statement.
ZACRAS said the existence of a three-tier broadcasting system comprising public, commercial and community broadcasting provides a wide choice for citizens, widening information access options.
“The licensing of community radio stations will therefore enhance citizens’ access to information on socio-economic developments including fostering accountable and responsive governance. Radio’s strategic role remains of paramount importance as witnessed by its role in aiding different sectors, central Government included, in disaster mitigation, response and recovery,” ZACRAS said.
Commenting on this development, Fojo-IMS senior programme manager, Simbiso Marimbe said: “This is historic for Zimbabwe and coincides with IMS’s 20th anniversary this month, where we are celebrating the organisation’s expansive support in defence of good journalism for better societies across the globe.”
To date, 14 community radio stations have been licensed in the country.