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groups present evidence on broadcasting liberalisation
Public Information Rights forum (PIRF)
April 06, 2004
Civic groups presented evidence on the delay in the entry of new
players in the broadcasting sector to the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Transport and Communications. The Committee is investigating
the delay by BAZ to invite and issue licenses to new players in
the commercial and community-broadcasting category. The meeting
was held on 5th April 2004 in Harare.
The groups included
the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA)- Zimbabwe Chapter, Radio Dialogue, Global
Arts Trust, Voice of the People Trust and the Zimbabwe Association
of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS).
concerns included the following:
1. The Broadcasting
Services Act is the source of frustration for prospective broadcasters,
independent producers and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
itself. It prohibits foreign funding of new broadcasters and imposes
harsh restrictions for potential broadcasters.
2. The independence
of the BAZ is not guaranteed in law. The law requires the BAZ, the
regulatory body, to establish whether there is additional need for
broadcasters. It recommends potential licensees to the Minister,
who himself has made prejudicial statements against prospective
community and commercial radio broadcasters.
3. The subversion
of the parliamentary process which has resulted in the legislature
passing laws that hindered freedom of expression and information
such as the Broadcasting Services Act and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
4. There is
no clear media policy document to reinforce constitutional provisions
on freedom of expression. As a result, authorities have issued statements
of policy in reaction to events and issues.
5. There is
lack of political commitment in allowing new players independent
of Government in the broadcasting sector. Government has not made
public results of its investigations into the harassment independent
media houses and workers, including the bombing of the offices of
the VOP Trust on 29th August 2002.
PIRF is a network
of information officers in the Civic Alliance for Social and Economic
Progress (CASEP). CASEP is a coalition of membership-based organisations
in the labour, education, health and media sector.
made to the Committee are available on request. Read the presentations
- Global Arts Trust
- Radio Voice of the People
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