By Staff Reporter
INFORMATION Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has urged communities that will soon be issued with community radio station licences to exercise restraint in their coverage as broadcasting can be divisive.
The minister said the government, through the State-owned Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), was in the process of regularising the operations of community radios as they play an important part in national development.
However, the minister called for the new entrants to focus on responsible reportage and quality messaging for national development.
“Broadcasting is a two edged sword that can contribute to national development or its capabilities can be used to rip a nation apart,” she said.
“In the hands of national detractors, radio can play a divisive role. Those licensed are urged to use their licences responsibly in the national interest. Radio stations must not only give quality signals to the people but also strive on quality messaging for national development.”
She was speaking at the commemorations of World Radio Day in Gweru Thursday.
She said BAZ was yet to issue licences to community broadcasters and was working on the necessary modalities.
“We are yet to licence community broadcasters,” said Mutsvangwa.
“We are going to licence community stations. We are about to licence radio stations,” she said, adding that the development dovetailed with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s devolution policy.
“Community radios will enable everyone to participate in development and also that everyone’s voice should be heard. For this reason, there is no turning back or ruling out community stations. We gazetted regulations which set the framework of the licensing authority to call out for applications.”
The Information Minister said communities where community radio stations would be set-up should take pride and also have a sense of ownership.
Mutsvangwa also announced that plans were at an advanced stage to give broadcasting permits to 19 universities to operate campus radio stations.