Young people in Gwanda and Harare say there was no openness in the way in which radio licences were given by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), with many saying the licenses were issued to pro-Zanu PF companies and individuals.
AB Communications, which is owned by Zanu PF Member of Parliament and Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwandira, along with the State-owned Kingstons book shop were given two licences each by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
The development brings to three, the number of radio stations owned by Mandiwanzira following the establishment of his ZiFM two years ago.
Youth Forum Gwanda South Chairperson Obert Gwatirera said it remains to be seen if the new licences will bring plurality of voices to the media.
“The primary challenge however will be whether or not a quantitative increase in radio and television stations leads to media diversity or instead media monopolies.”
Gwatirera said the country does not need only a quantitative increase of radios, but also a qualitative improvement.
“Zimbabwe 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,” Gwatirera said.
Youth Forum Vice Chairperson Fadzai Matiyenga who is a media practitioner criticised the latest development saying it compromises media diversity and plurality in the Zimbabwe.
“The march towards media diversity appears compromised when the same players, linked to, or with a close relationship with the state, are licenced, as is the case now. The Government has always dominated the airwaves via ZBC” said Youth Forum Vice Chairperson Fadzai Matiyenga.
She said “BAZ need to now focus on licensing community radio stations to complete the international and national call for a three tier broadcasting arrangement”.
Philemon Jambaya Youth Forum National Spokesperson urged those who were given licences to start broadcasting as this will create employment for young people.
“We appeal to those who got the licences as soon as possible to use the granted platforms to develop and unite our people by practising responsible journalism ” said Jambaya.
In a statement, BAZ chief executive officer, Tafataona Mahoso confirmed the licence awards to the following companies: Masvingo: AB Communications t/a Gogogoi FM, Zvishavane: Ray of hope t/a YAFM, Gweru: AB Communication t/a FAYA FM, Kariba: Kingstones t/a Nyaminyami FM, Victoria Falls: Fairtalk Communications t/a Breeze FM, Mutare: Zimpapers, t/a Diamond FM, Bulawayo: Fairtalk Communications t/a Skyz Metro FM, Harare: Kingstons t/a KE100.4 FM
Source: – www.youthforumzim.org