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Radio Dialogue denied procession clearance
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS)
March 20, 2012
Central Police District has denied Radio Dialogue clearance to hold
a free-the-airwaves procession.
to grant the clearance, the police cited that "they had received
a directive from the top, instructing them not to grant clearance
for any procession or march until further notice".
the manner in which the police are undermining community radio operations.
In denying the clearance, the police should have provided substantive
and specific reasons, as espoused in Section 26 of the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA).
Section 26 of
POSA clearly states that, if a regulatory authority is in possession
of credible information indicating that holding an event will result
in public disorder, he can invite a convenor to a consultative meeting
to explore options to prevent the perceived threat.
The same section
goes on to state that, if after the consultative meeting, the regulatory
authority on reasonable grounds, is convinced that no amendment
or condition contemplated in the consultative meeting would prevent
the occurrence of public disorder, he or she can issue a prohibition
notice, giving the reasons and grounds therefore to the convener.
In the Radio
Dialogue case, no substantive and clear reason has been given, with
the reasons proffered thus far, being vague and a clear violation
of citizen's right to freedom of assembly and association,
as espoused in Regional and International human rights instruments.
It is saddening
that the provisions of POSA, which give the police power to either
grant or deny clearances, are being used to hamper citizen's
enjoyment of their right to freedom of expression, assembly and
association .It is against this background that ZACRAS is calling
for the repealing of such legislation which is not permissible within
a democratic society.
POSA state that clearances can be denied if the event will likely
cause public disorder. Community radio serves a development purpose
seeking to enhance community participation and access to information.
This in no way is a threat to public order, breach of peace or public
safety. Noting the developmental purpose of community radios, various
stakeholders, amongst them the police force, should augment community
radio operations and not be a stumbling block in the advancement
of community radio interests.
As stated by
Uzumba Member of Parliament, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (ZANU-PF) in a
Newsday article of 19 March 2012, licencing community radios will
accord minority groups platforms for engagements, access to information
and its dissemination.
It is ZACRAS'
view that the promotion of community participation in local and
national issues enhances communities' social inclusiveness.
This in turn leads to citizen focused policy formulation, as communities
actively participate and contribute in governance related issues.
was part of the proceedings of a community radio conference to be
held by Radio Dialogue, in partnership with ZACRAS and Bulawayo
Agenda on the 21st of March 2012 .The procession was scheduled
to commence from Bulawayo City Hall to the Zimbabwe International
Trade Fair, which is the conference venue.
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