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ZACRAS commemorates World Radio Day

by Stephen Jakes
18 Feb 2018 at 08:18hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) joins other media stakeholders in the world in commemorating the World Radio Day.

"As we mark the important role which radio plays in promoting development and democracy, radio remains one of the most powerful and mostly preferred medium even in the face of alternative media," reads the organisation's statement.

"As we commemorate this day, under the theme, Radio, Sport and Cultural Diversity, it is our concern is that there is no movement in terms of improving the broadcasting media situation in Zimbabwe. The supposed public broadcaster ZBC remains captured by the state and closed to the generality of the Zimbabwean citizens with an editorial thrust which is highly partisan while no community radio is licenced.This presents a sorry broadcasting media state which defeats the whole idea of opening up Zimbabwe for business as is currently being pushed by the new Government."

The theme for this year is well considered especially if one looks at the developmental role which radio plays particularly community radio. Community radio is strategically positioned to promote our cultures and sport if it's given space and a conducive operational environment.

"There is no doubt that licenced community radio stations operating within the confines of a democratic and progressive media law and regulatory framework, will contribute to a better Zimbabwe which we all dream about," said ZACRAS.

"The clarion call by His Excellency President Mnangagwa to open up Zimbabwe for business must be accompanied by opening up the media space especially freeing the airwaves so that more players can be given space. The broadcasting media has remained a preserve of a selected few and only those close to the ruling elite for a long time regardless of calls by various media stakeholders and advocates for the government to liberalise the airwaves. It is ZACRAS' position that the opening up of the airwaves which will see the licensing of the community radio initiatives that are scattered in the country, will be a practical demonstration of the new administration's intention to do things differently."

"While the pledge for democratic, free, fair and credible elections by President Mnangagwa is encouraging and a step in the right direction, the practical steps should include reforming key aspects of the electoral environment and the media is central.  Citizens have no reason to believe that there is now a new way of doing things when the media environment and the narrative remain unchanged. It is therefore, in our view, of paramount importance for the government to attend to issues of broadcasting diversity and pluralism so that our broadcasting media is democratized and the generality of Zimbabweans and those who live in Zimbabwe can participate in it freely."

ZACRAS said therefore we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to:
-realign media laws including broadcasting media with the constitution,
-institute a democratic community broadcasting regulatory framework which promotes citizen participation, expedite the call for the applications for community broadcasting licensing, and cease harassment and intimidation of community radio practitioners by creating a conducive operational environment.

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Source - Byo24News

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