By Michael Mashiri
The Government’s function in any sector, including media is to be a modulator and not a participant, a Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) official has said.
Speaking at a roundtable dialogue feedback meeting that was held in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations National Coordinator Vivian Marara said the Government has a function in shaping the different sectors in the country, not necessarily taking part in the way these sectors operate.
She also said, in contrary to setting up community radios for the community, the Government should mainly focus on monitoring the media sector by means of setting up ways which promote media diversity and pluralism.
“The Government’s role in any sector, media included, is never to be a player but a regulator.
“Instead of Government seeking to establish community radios on behalf of the community, its focus should be on democratically regulating the media sector through establishing necessary mechanisms which promote diversity and plurality,” she said.
Marara added that, the community radios were supposed to be mainly influenced by the people that they will be serving and they should not be influenced by other parties.
“Community Radios should be run by the communities themselves. They should not be managed, influenced or controlled by outsiders,” she said.
Nigel Nyamutumbu who is Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Programmes Manager said there was need for the state media to be news disseminator that people can rely on and not people to be sceptical on the information they will be getting from the public broadcaster.
He said it was perplexing to say that, when elections were being broadcasted, many people would opt for international news media organisations, leaving their own media, mainly because they doubted their own station.
“The state media must be transformed to a media that the public can have confidence in.
“It is surprising as during elections people would resort to other forms of media, international media to get what was taking place in their own country, yet they are people with their own media stations.
“When the events of 1 August were taking place, people were getting most of their information from international media, whilst our national broadcaster was showing other things, leaving things which were going to shape the future of the country,” he said.
The purpose of the roundtable was to facilitate a discussion by members of the media on the submissions, observations and recommendations that were presented to the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting services.