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Press Freedom Day: Body calls for independent broadcasting commission
Youth Agenda Trust
May 02, 2013
joins other countries in marking the 20th anniversary of the ‘Declaration
of Windhoek’ also known as World Press Freedom Day, a local
media body has called for the establishment of a genuine broadcasting
commission that discharges its duties in a professional manner.
of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), an umbrella body of community
radio initiatives in Zimbabwe has called for a visible political
will to create a conducive broadcasting environment in the country.
Since Independence, the Zimbabwean government has refused to register
community radio stations and only recently allowed state aligned
Star FM radio and ZiFM owned by local businessman Supa Mandiwanzira
to challenge ZBC’s 3 decade stranglehold on the airwaves.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is currently chaired
by serial media hangman, Dr Tafataona Mahoso, known for closing
down newspapers at the turn of the millennium.
While acknowledging the progress made by the Inclusive government
in licensing new players, the body said that media reforms provided
for in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and recently the new constitution,
must not be cosmetic but should ensure ‘citizens are exposed
to diverse voices’. ZACRAS deplored the culture of impunity
that has engulfed the country which has seen security forces illegally
seizing radio sets from the public.
urge the government to deal decisively with the culture of impunity
which has seen law enforcement agents unilaterally banning citizens
from legitimate use of solar powered radio gadgets to access information,”
said Gift Mambipiri, ZACRAS chairperson.
Mambipiri urged the government to expedite the process of enacting
enabling legislation that ‘complements the media provisions
in the new Constitution’. The body maintained that community
radios remain the missing link in the communication revolution in
the country, which it said are an invaluable asset for communities
Agenda Trust Chairperson who is also a media practitioner Kudzai
Kwangwari has deplored the state of the media in Zimbabwe and has
called for the licensing of genuine community radio stations and
for the public broadcaster (ZBC) to stop churning out hate speech.
He said that it is important for ZBC to embrace professional journalistic
ethics so that it becomes a true public broadcaster. “There
must be genuine reforms at the public broadcaster to ensure people
feel that they own the station. It is the only way people can willingly
pay radio and television licences,” Kwangwari said.
Youth Agenda Trust is working in over 20 districts across the country
where it has trained communities on citizen journalism and the use
of new media technologies. Today, community members continue to
contribute to the publication of ‘The New Age Voices’
paper which is distributed across the districts as well as other
local papers which have agreed to partner with the organization
in bringing news to closed communities.
World Press Freedom Day was set aside to celebrate the fundamental
principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout
the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence and
pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line
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