Zimbabweans have reacted to the newly licensed radio stations with mixed feelings.
This comes after the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) issued local commercial radio broadcasting service licences to eight companies. Prior to the licensing BAZ had shortlisted 18 applicants from the 21 who submitted applications for local commercial radio licences.
While others celebrate this development as a step in the right direction others have bemoaned the ownership of the stations claiming that the newly licensed stations are likely to support the status quo.
Lorraine Phiri tells 263Chat: “I think it’s a good start but there is still need to increase the number of stations.”
She also said that small cities like Zvishavane and Kariba are likely to develop if the new stations are utilised to their full potential.
Rugare Pisira echoed the above sentiments when he said that the new radio stations will see local people speaking for themselves.
“The new stations will enable local people to air their views unlike the current situation in which all stations are located in Harare. We end up having people in Harare speaking on behalf of the whole country,” said Pisira.
However some people are of a different view. To some of them the new radio stations won’t change anything.
— 263Chat ?? (@263Chat) March 4, 2015
Commenting on the 263Chat’s twitter account, Raphael Masarira, blasted the criteria used to approve radio stations.
“It seems as if the airwaves are being opened to the ICT Minister alone I think he is the only guy who knows this business more than anybody,” said Masarira.
Via his Twitter account, Sir Mthae said “AB Communications has 3 radios, Zimpapers 3, Fairtalk 2, they are all Zanu PF clowns, hapana kana change apa”.
Another Twitter user, James Kamchacha said that multiplicity is not diversity.
“Licensing eight radio stations does not necessarily translate to diversity. All the licensed radio stations are one way or the other affiliated to the power bloc, they will all echo the views of the government,” he said.
Loughty Dube, the Director of Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, commended the development saying it is a positive initiative but he however questioned the criteria used to approve the radio stations.
It’s a step towards the opening up of airwaves but BAZ should disclose to the public the criteria it used to approve the radio stations at the same time pointing out why organisations like Alpha Media Holdings could not get one.
The applicants that have been granted radio licences are:
- AB Communications trading as Gogogoi FM operating in Masvingo
- Ray of Hope trading as Ya FM operating in Zvishavane
- Kingstons trading as Nyaminyami FM operating in Kariba
- Fairtalk Communications trading as Breeze FM operating in Victoria Falls
- Zimpapers trading as Diamond FM operating in Mutare;
- Fairtalk Communications, trading as Skyz Metro FM operating in Bulawayo;
- Kingstons trading as KE 100.4 FM operating in Harare and
- AB Communications trading as Faya FM operating in Gweru.