Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Hon Monica Mutsvangwa has declared that the government will fulfill its mandate of rolling out community radio stations across the country.
Speaking during the World Radio Day commemorations in Gweru on Thursday, Mutsvangwa said:
“There is no turning back in the rolling out of community radio stations. We believe in the power of radio and recognise that for people to contribute to national development, their voices should be heard,” she said.
“We realised that for everyone to participate, the low voices should be heard and evidence gathered by the information and media panel of inquiry impede that radio is the most powerful platform of information in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural communities,” Mutsvangwa added.
Community radio is a service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting. Community stations serve geographic and communities of interest.
Community radio stations allow participation from community members, foster development at the most basic level and allow access of information to the people.
Radio is a powerful medium of communication and information, community radio stations allow people to take ownership of their own development.
“We believe we have to give people access to information, we realised for everyone to participate in the development their voices should be heard.”
“To foster development at grass root level people should participate in their communities, it is here that community radio stations will play a critical role and for that reason, there is no turning back,” she said.
The minister added that last week the government closed the digital gap that existed in law, which hindered the establishment of community radio stations.
“We gazetted regulations which set the framework for the licensing of community radio stations, they are preparing the call out for applications right now.“
However, there have been concerns over the proposed amendments of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), statutory instrument SI 27 2020 of the BSA around the fees for radio licensing.
Meanwhile, MISA Zimbabwe has called for the genuine liberalization of the broadcasting sector and also the transformation of the national broadcaster.