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government benevolence with caution, media players warned
Muthulisi Mathuthu, SW Radio Africa
October 30, 2013
View this article
on the SW Radio Africa website
There is a ‘definite
intention’ on the part of the Zimbabwean government to open
up the airwaves to new players but not for the benefit of human
rights and democracy, a leading media activist has said.
executive director of the Voluntary
Media Council of Zimbabwe, Takura Zhangazha, said Wednesday
that while reforms in the broadcasting sector were ‘most likely’
going to happen, “quantity will far outweigh quality.”
SW Radio Africa’s Cutting Edge programme, Zhangazha warned
that new players will most probably concentrate more on business
and entrainment content, as opposed to human rights and democracy.
He warned media players not to give the government the ‘benefit
of the doubt’ but instead adopt a ‘wait and see’
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has invited applications
for 25 ‘commercial radio’ licences.
warned that while the application process would probably be a ‘free
for all’ only people with too much money and access to technology
will benefit from the government ‘benevolence’.
Minister Jonathan Moyo’s current conciliatory stance towards
the media, Zhangazha warned journalists to remain ‘cautious’.
Since his reappointment to government Moyo has been touring media
houses urging cordial relations. Moyo has also been seen shaking
hands with journalists with whom he previously clashed.
unless the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was repealed,
the media environment would not change much and journalists would
still be faced with the same old challenges.
the same programme, deported international correspondent Mercedes
Sayagues told SW Radio Africa that Moyo’s sincerity can only
be proved if he allowed her, together with fellow deportee Andrew
Meldrum, back in the country.
deported from Zimbabwe in 2001 while Meldrum was deported in 2002.
Also deported around the same time was BBC’s Joseph Winter.
In all the dramatic
incidents which drew international outcry Moyo played a key role.
Moyo was also blamed for the closure of the Daily News in 2003 and
is widely known to have crafted the repressive AIPPA legislation
that help clampdown of media freedom.
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