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set for 25 radio stations
Paidamoyo Muzulu, The Independent (Zimbabwe)
November 15, 2013
set to have 25 new free-to-air commercial provincial radio stations
following last week’s Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s
(Baz) call for applications amid fears that the licences, as is
allegedly the case with the two private players currently operating,
may be allocated on partisan grounds.
Baz made the
announcement in the Government Gazette of October 28, 2013 –
GN 511/2013 inviting applications for 25 free to air local commercial
radio broadcasting services licences. Applications close on January
is widespread scepticism about the licensing procedures as it emerged
applicants have to indicate directors and shareholders’ political
affiliation in the application forms.
Question 6 and
8 on the application form specifically asks for information about
the political affiliation of the directors and shareholders.
a Zimbabwean media expert at Rhodes University, South Africa, said
it was not proper that Baz seeks to know the political affiliation
of the applicants.
by Baz for applicants to divulge their political affiliation is
very unfortunate and may further exacerbate political polarisation,”
Mare said. “Political affiliation cannot be used as an excuse
for awarding or withholding licences.”
analyst Jonathan Gandari concurred with Mare.
political affiliation question is a red flag,” Gandari said:
“It predetermines the outcome of the call. If history is anything
to go by, the Baz call is another pulling of wool over the eyes
Media Council of Zimbabwe director Takura Zhangazha said it
remains to be seen if the new licences will bring plurality of voices
to the media.
has already indicated its intention to increase the players in the
electronic media,” Zhangazha said. “The primary challenge
however will be whether or not a quantitative increase in radio
and television stations leads to media diversity or instead media
Mare said the
country does not need only a quantitative increase of radios, but
also a qualitative improvement.
urgently needs media diversity at a qualitative level, in terms
of diverse opinions, diverse languages and diverse media owners
to insulate us against media concentration,” Mare said.
has six radio stations. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings owns four
while the two private stations are owned by companies with close
links to Zanu PF. The two are StarFM and ZiFM Stereo owned by Zimpapers
and deputy Information minister Supa Mandiwanzira respectively.
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