Radio Dialogue is a non profit making community radio station aspiring to broadcast to the community of Bulawayo and its surrounding areas.Radio dialogue aims at providing a channel to debate and discuss current political, social, cultural and economic issues affecting the community of Bulawayo. It aspires to see a well informed and more developed Bulawayo
Radio Dialogue was founded in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, in 2001. Our slogan ‘Giving You a Voice’ expresses our aim to enable the people of Bulawayo to speak to each other. We strive to ensure that the people of Bulawayo hear the voices, not only of the rich and the powerful, but also of the women who sell tomatoes on street corners. Radio Dialogue is a community radio station for the entire Bulawayo community, transmitting the voices of the old and young, different language groups, ethnic groups and those of different religious affiliations. We do this in an effort to enhance community relations in Bulawayo, and to promote understanding and tolerance between those of differing backgrounds, beliefs and interests.
Radio is a powerful medium – more accessible than television; we can listen to radio when at home cooking, while traveling, even while working. It is more accessible than newspapers, enabling people to express themselves in the way they do it best – through the spoken word.The present government of Zimbabwe is afraid of allowing its citizens to exercise freedom of speech. The only daily newspapers, radio and TV stations in the country are state controlled. All journalists, all publications and all public meetings are severely controlled by legislation, and closely monitored by police and intelligence officers. It is therefore no surprise that there are no independent radio stations in Zimbabwe. Three stations do broadcast Zimbabwean programmes from outside the borders, and make an important contribution to freedom of expression. Their programmes are popular and successful, but not easily accessible to all.
However, the policy of Radio Dialogue is to remain within Zimbabwe and to use alternative legitimate means of broadcasting, and campaigning within the country for liberalisation of the airwaves. We believe that oppressive media laws and harassment of journalists will not end until there is a change of government. However, it is naïve to expect freedom of the airwaves to come about by a change of government alone. Even in developed democratic countries governments are unhappy when the independent media attack unpopular policies. However, the populations of such countries demand freedom of expression, and freedom of the airwaves. So we believe that the people of Zimbabwe will not have freedom of the airwaves until they demand that their voices be heard.Radio Dialogue’s alternative means of broadcasting raises awareness of what community broadcasting has to offer. By focusing on issues that affect the day to day lives of the community, Radio Dialogue gives people a ‘hands-on’ experience of how community broadcasting will enable them to express themselves, bring about local development, and improve their quality of life.
These alternative means include making programmes on cassette and CD, putting on road shows, cultural festivals, youth entertainment, debates, speaking contests & drama competitions, and ‘live broadcast’ community meetings. We ensure maximum community participation through Radio Dialogue Ward Committees, through schools & youth Dialogue Clubs, and local performing artists. We are presently investigating how new technologies can assist us in becoming accessible to ever larger numbers of the people of Bulawayo.Over the years Radio Dialogue has built up a team of enthusiastic, energetic and competent staff, gifted in all necessary skills, from financial management to audio & video technical expertise. At the same time we have managed to set up state-of-the-art radio production as well as music recording studios, and excellent video filming and editing facilities.
So, when the day comes for Radio Dialogue to start broadcasting through the airwaves, we will have given birth not only to a local community radio station, but also facilities for promoting Bulawayo musicians, and developing a Bulawayo’s film industry.