KUMAKOMO COMMUNITY RADIO INITIATIVE (KCRS) expresses its disappointment following a disturbing announcement by the government of Zimbabwe that it wishes to suspend the licensing of new radio stations, including community radio stations. The statements by Hon. Christopher Mushohwe, the minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, made on the 21st of July 2016 in his oral presentation before parliament all but shutters the hopes of citizens for multiplicity in radio broadcasting.
It is important to note that the government has to ensure that the players who were granted licenses operate in an enabling environment, thus punishing them for failing to operate against a background of a harsh economic scenario appears to be a cruel decision.
Manicaland has a single broadcaster in the form of a state sponsored player and it would encourage balanced/diversified medium of communication for the province if more independent players are licensed.
It is KCRS view that suspending any plans to license more radio stations and more importantly community radio stations is against the current constitution which has clearly provided for a three- faced broadcasting system which virtually means that Manicaland only has one local commercial station. We do note that Zimbabwe is among the few countries in the region that does not have the three tier broadcasting platform of national broadcaster, private, and community broadcaster.
Thus, we are kindly demanding that:
• The government remains committed to its initial plan to license all eligible radio stations including community radio stations which have not been registered since independence. .
• To facilitate for new players to take part in the broadcasting.
• All media laws and policies that are not consistent with the provisions of the constitution be realigned as a matter of urgency.
• Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe immediately call for applications for the new stations.