Zambia’s government has issued 13 transmitter permits to community radio and television stations across the country, a move aimed at further opening up the country’s airwaves.
The country has already constructed 25 radio and television transmitters in 25 districts while a further 25 transmitters are lined up for construction to enhance signal quality.
The new stations are expected to switch on to digital broadcasting format before the December 2013 deadline set by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Mwansa Kapeya, the country’s deputy minister of information and broadcasting, said the move taken by the government is aimed at ‘enhancing’ people’s participation in the affairs of the country as the government ‘values’ the contribution of community radio stations.
Kapeya said community radio stations play a crucial role in meeting informational needs of people in their localities.
“So far we have issued 10 radio licenses and one television license since coming into office in 2011. We are doing this to encourage the flow of information between the government and the people,” Kapeya said.
Only one year in office, the Patriotic Front (PF) government boasts it has issued more radio and television licenses as compared to the previous administration’s record of only two full radio licenses and eight construction permits issued between 2010 and September 2011.
Meanwhile, the Panos Institute Southern Africa has said community radio stations are good allies for community development in Southern Africa and need to be supported for them to effectively play their role