Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

ZACRAS implores govt to allow foreign funding for newly licensed radios

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Local |

The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radios Stations (ZACRAS) has pleaded with the government to allow newly licensed community radio stations to receive foreign funding and ensure they remain viable.

ZACRAS representative Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radios Stations (ZACRAS) representative Mlondolozi Ndlovu

Government late last year licensed six community radio stations and among them was one ZACRAS member- Ntepe Manama community radio. Eight new community radio stations were licensed again last week and five of them were ZACRAS members making a total of 6 out of 8 ZACRAS members that have applied and offered licenses.

However, the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) disallows foreign direct investment in a broadcasting venture.

Speaking at the commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information hosted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe chapter, ZACRAS representative Mlondolozi Ndlovu urged the government to give room for foreign based Zimbabweans to fund community radios.

He added that broadcasting was highly technological hence the law must be changed to ensure that Zimbabweans in the diaspora can also invest in the community radios.

The event was held under the theme: “The Right to Know- Building Back Better with Access to Information”.

“Broadcasting is a highly technological venture. Technology plays a key role in gathering, editing and processing information. Transmitting the information to the community, and in turn receiving their feedback and input, is a technological conversation involving recorders, editing suites, audio transmitters, and digital signal receivers within homes,” he said.

“Technology is thus one of the challenges that exist within Zimbabwean CRI, no matter their hunger to broadcast today. Lack of Foreign Investments. The Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) disallows any form of foreign direct investment in a broadcasting venture.

“Given the necessity of importing broadcasting equipment from out of the country as well as the attendant foreign currency required for this, it is not practical to totally refuse foreign investment in community media.

“Whilst the majority shareholding of any broadcasting media should be in the hands of Zimbabweans room must be left for foreign based Zimbabweans so that communities benefit from foreign currency injection but also from new technology.”

Ndlovu said community radios must be allowed to apply for grants, have advertisements but mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that there is editorial independence.

ZACRAS also campaigned for the reform of the licensing process to ensure that the process of licensing community radios happens throughout the year. Nehanda Radio