By Costa Nkomo
THE Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) Monday pleaded with state authorities to open up airwaves to new broadcasting players.
The government, through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) last year licensed six community, campus radio stations and six television stations.
“At a time that the world is battling the negative impact of Covid 19, the licensing of community and campus radios is a positive step towards ensuring the provision of accurate information on Covid 19 in a bid to dispel myths and information,” ZACRAS chairperson Perlagia Kapuya said.
She added her organisation was hopeful the government would license more players.
“ZACRAS remains hopeful that the Government of Zimbabwe will license more community and campus radios so as to promote information diversity. We, therefore, continue to call upon the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to be fair, transparent, and non-partisan in the awarding of the licenses,” Kapuya said in a statement.
ZACRAS pleaded with the government to inject a rescue package into the media industry to help the press regain its feet following the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is, however, disheartening that the 2021 WPFD (World Press Freedom Day) commemorations come at a time when the media the world-over is facing sustainability challenges which threaten its very existence as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As such, we urge the Government of Zimbabwe to take a lead in seeking solutions to assist the media including coming up with rescue packages,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Young Association of journalists (YOJA) has bemoaned the lack of training on how to report on pandemics and insufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for media practitioners.
“We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to recognise the role of the press and investigate all cases of intimidation, harassment and other forms of ill-treatment scribes encounter in their day-to-day work experience.”
World Press Freedom Day is commemorated annually on 3 May and journalists the world override on it to remind governments to respect free press freedom.