MEDIA stakeholders have called for transparency in the issuing of television and community radio licences to ensure pluralism in the media and avert a monopoly by appendages of political parties.
By Richard Muponde
The call was made after the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe yesterday invited applications for six free-to-air commercial television stations, 10 free-to-air radio stations and 19 free-to-air campus radio stations.
In a statement, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe said the development called for the government to be sincere and genuine towards liberalisation of the broadcasting services in the country.
“While the government continues to reiterate its commitment to implement fundamental reforms since President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendency into office, the quality of the reforms still leaves a lot to be desired,” Misa-Zimbabwe said.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary-general Foster Dongozi welcomed the move as a positive development towards creating jobs and institute media reforms, but also called for transparency in issuing out the licences.
“We believe that the number is not enough. We also insist on community radio stations that empower communities. From an industry perspective, we do hope that the process around licensing will be transparent. These reforms inform the international community about the media reforms we are doing and show them that we are shaping our future,” he said.
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe director Loughty Dube said government should set parameters on which the licences would be issued to avoid cronyism.
“We need pluralism in the media, not to have the same people with the same mindset. We hope they will benefit real communities so that everyone gets an equitable chance to get the licences,” he said.
“There also should be real community radio stations, not appendages of a political party. Media reforms should not be at community level alone, but also the public broadcaster so that it serves the interests of the real public.”
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