Government is committed to the establishment of community radio stations this year as they are an integral part of its thrust of promoting development through devolution.
This was said by the Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana during a panel discussion on Zimpapers Television Network programme 4th Estate yesterday.
He also said the community radio stations would be licensed once the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) board is appointed.
“The thrust of Government in the Second Republic is based on empowerment coming through devolution. So, the drivers of development are communities and Government fully supports the drive towards having community radio stations in different communities so that we will drive development in those communities in a devolved way.
“So, no suspicions should come on Government about its intentions. Its intention is basically one; to develop communities and develop the country,” Mr Mangwana said.
He said his ministry was only responsible for giving policy direction while the licensing would be done by BAZ once the BAZ board was in place.
Government is currently in the process of establishing the board with names of nominees currently being vetted.
“We do not have a BAZ at the moment. We have a structure of what each entity does, institutionally and in terms of governance,” he said.
“The ministry’s role is to chat the policy and our policy is that we need that three-tier system (community, commercial and national radio stations) and we need community radio stations licensed because we do not have a single one at the moment, but who determines who is going to be licensed and who is not going to be licensed among the applicants? It’s not us. We are not going to interfere with that process, the BAZ will, as an authority that stands on its own which is the regulator and which does the licensing as well.”
He added that Government had also set aside funding to assist marginalised community set up their stations.
“So, in terms of what happens there, I can’t be of assistance, but I can tell you that the political direction, the policy direction of Government is that we should have community radio stations and that Government has made provisions for those communities that can’t establish or run radio stations on their own we have put aside finances for just that to support them and to help them run,” Mr Mangwana said.