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World Radio Day, Govt urged to free airwaves

Zimbabwe on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Radio Day despite increasing calls by activists on government to promote the freeing of airwaves especially for community radio stations.

The 13th of February every year since September 2011was set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a day to celebrate radio as a medium of communication.

Nhlanhla Ngwenya national director of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said while this day is significant in the history of radio broadcasting, he bemoaned the lack of commitment by government to license many radio stations.

“While others commemorate and celebrate the development of the liberalisation of the airwaves, we here in Zimbabwe are using this day to introspect and identify our problems,” said Ngwenya.

He said 32 years after independence government has promoted shrinking of broadcasting space by denying aspiring broadcasters licenses.

Ngwenya said they will continue piling pressure on government to force it issue more licenses and complete the three tier broadcasting model.

Human rights defender, Effie Ncube said refusal by government to issue licenses is a sign that leaders are not ready to govern an informed citizenry.

Ncube said: “…it is refusing to allow other voices to come into the broadcasting space and the information sharing spaces. It wants to continue monopolising the distribution of information and the control thereof.

“So it will not be allowing anybody to the extent that access to information enables Zimbabweans access to more rights and to access their dignity.”

He said organisations pushing for the freeing of airwaves such as Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) should take advantage of pending elections to force government free the airwaves.

About Bhekizulu Tshuma

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