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Statement on Honorable Chikwinya's House of Assembly notice
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS)
December 07, 2011

The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations commends Honorable Settlement Chikwinya for giving notice to move a motion seeking to annul the current Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board.

This motion has our full backing!

The Newsday of 7 December 2011 reports that Mbizo Member of Parliament, Honorable Settlement Chikwinya, gave notice in the House of Assembly to move a motion seeking to annul the current Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Board. This was long overdue.

According to the Newsday, the motion will call upon Parliament to dissolve the current BAZ Board following its unilateral appointment by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamhu, on September 30, 2009. The motion is expected to be seconded by Zaka Central MP, Honorable Harison Mudzuri.

The appointment of the current BAZ Board was done despite the existence of provisions in the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) (2007) and Constitutional Amendment number 19, which stipulate that the appointment of the BAZ Board is done by President Robert Mugabe in consultation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.

Honorable Chikwinya indicated that the motion will also seek to condemn BAZ' issuance of licenses to ZimPapers' Talk radio and Supa Mandiwanzira's AB Communications; and call for the annulment of the licenses. The licenses were awarded by an improperly constituted body, and law abiding citizens of Zimbabwe do not wish to be associated with such lawlessness.

ZACRAS commends Honorable Chikwinya for taking an initiative that seeks to address irregularities within Zimbabwe's broadcasting sector. His call is consistent with ZACRAS' position that there can never be any media diversity and freedom as long as the current improperly constituted BAZ is in office. The nation's worst fears have already been confirmed with the controversial licensing of ZimPapers Talk Radio and AB Communications.

It is ZACRAS' belief that when the nation called for media diversity and plurality, they meant having different voices in the media industry. The current promise from the improperly constituted BAZ is to give the nation a dosage of the same old voice. Whereas previously, Zimbabwe used to have Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4 singing from the same hymn book, the licensing of ZimPapers' Talk Radio and AB Communications can be likened to the licensing of Radio 5 and 6 so as to amplify the discredited singing.

ZACRAS stands guard and ready for the licensing of community radio stations as envisaged in the African Charter on Broadcasting, which calls for the establishment of a 3 tier broadcasting system comprising of public, commercial and community radio stations.

It is only when communities have access to information and can freely express themselves, that they can enhance their participation in governance from an informed point. Licensing community radio stations will also go a long way in assisting communities in their fight against HIV/Aids, gender based violence and Human Rights abuses.

ZACRAS calls on other progressive MP's such as Honorable Harison Mudzuri, to resoundingly support Honorable Chikwinya, and all of us who are keen on a better Zimbabwe.

Visit the ZACRAS fact sheet

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