The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) has welcomed the appointment of a Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board to regulate Zimbabwe’s broadcasting sector.
ZACRAS cited separate statements published in the evening of the 31st of July 2019 on the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services official Twitter handle where the public was advised that following consultations with His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon .Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, was pleased to announce the appointment of Boards for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC),Transmedia Limited and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe(BAZ).
Members of the new BAZ Board comprise of Ambassador Bornface Guwa Chidyausiku, Tendai Karonga, V-Makamure Nduna, Vimbai Nyakudya, Chief Mabikwa, Oliver Mandipaka, Rodney Mazeyewe, Victoria Spiwe Mamvura, Jonathan Mapinda, Audrey Chihota and Jennifer Chakanyuka.
“The appointment of the BAZ Board follows various engagements made by ZACRAS at different fora with Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana and Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information,Publicity and Broadcasting Services on the need to expedite the appointment of a Board so as to ensure the licensing and operationalisation of community radios in Zimbabwe. BAZ last had a Board in 2015. The absence of a substantive BAZ Board has been inimical to the development of the community radio broadcasting sector as calls for applications for licensing could not be made without a Board in place,” ZACRAS said in a statement.
They noted that expectations are high within ZACRAS that the new Board will hit the ground running in seeking to ensure the qualitative and quantitative transformation of the community radio broadcasting environment in Zimbabwe.
“Chief amongst ZACRAS’ expectations is the need for the new Board to expedite the enactment of democratic community radio regulations which will guide the operations of the sector.
“The community radio regulations should clearly outline licensing processes and requirements for community radios including outlining the definition of a community based on both interest and geography, radius for coverage and funding issues. ZACRAS submits that the drafting of the community radio regulations should be done through a consultative and inclusive process guided by international best practices and standards set by the world governing board of community radios, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).”
The association noted that the existence of democratic community radio regulations should therefore culminate in the licensing of community radios in a non-partisan manner devoid of political or economic biases.
“As previously promised by Minister Mutsvangwa that community radios will be licensed this year, ZACRAS expects the licensing process to be initiated and completed during the course of 2019. ZACRAS currently has a membership of 22 initiatives dotted in different districts across Zimbabwe who have been eagerly waiting for licensing by BAZ. It is therefore ZACRAS’ fervent hope that the latest development of an appointment of a substantive Board will culminate in the realisation of a long standing dream.
“ZACRAS takes this opportunity to congratulate the new Board. ZACRAS looks forward to engaging the Board as we chart a new path in the democratic transformation of Zimbabwe’s broadcasting sector boasting of functional and real people oriented community radios,” the association added.