Legislative framework for community radio stations complete: Minister Mutsvangwa

By ZBC Reporter
THE GOVERNMENT says it is prepared to open up more democratic spaces in the country through licensing new players in the broadcasting sector as the licensing authority has finalised the legal framework for community and campus radio stations.
Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world this Thursday in commemorating world radio day with the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa leading the proceedings in the Gweru.
The celebrations began with a marching procession in the city centre led by Senator Mutsvangwa who was flanked by her deputy Dr Energy Mutodi and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nick Mangwana.
Senator Mutsvangwa said the government is committed to ensuring that information is easily accessible in all parts of the country.
“Let me make this point clear, we are going to license community radio stations, we are about to license community radio stations. His excellency President Emerson Mnangagwa’s government adopted devolution as one of its flagship policies in the second republic. We believe that everyone must have access to information, It is my ministry’s mandate to bridge the rural-urban information gap through ensuring a two-way communication system between government and rural communities. The full implementation of the three-tier broadcasting system will achieve that. But to achieve the level of reach we aspire to, we need to enhance our transmission network so that no area remains without service,” said Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board Chairperson, Engineer Charles Sibanda gave an update on the journey that has been travelled in opening up the airwaves in the country.
“It is clear that the non-existence of community broadcasting services in the country is a gap in the legal requirement. However, I’m pleased to inform you that the broadcasting authority board has initiated the necessary steps to close these gaps. While we wait for the review of the broadcasting act, the board has now put in place to the extent legally possible a licensing and regulatory framework which addresses some of the grey areas that stood in the way of community radio licensing. Within the next few days the authority will be making a public call for the submission of community and campus radio stations,” said Engineer Sibanda.
The ‘world radio day’ is celebrated annually and this year, it comes after the country has made significant strides in licensing more players in the spirit of promoting diversity.