NGO threatens legal action over broadcasting licence

A Bulawayo non-governmental organisation, Radio Dialogue, is threatening to take the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to court if the body fails to issue the organisation with a broadcasting licence.

Kudzai Kwangwari, Radio Dialogue project co-coordinator, told NewsDay on Sunday the organisation would soon file court papers against BAZ since it felt there was no seriousness on the board to issue Radio Dialogue with a licence.

“We have contacted our lawyers over the matter. If we do not get a positive response from BAZ regarding our application, we will soon be taking legal action,” said Kwangwari.

He said there seemed to be no “political will within BAZ as well as the inclusive government to liberalise the airwaves”.

Kwangwari said one of the issues of paramount importance during the formation of the government of national unity (GNU) was liberalisation of the airwaves.

“We want media pluralism. We have however not seen any positive developments regarding media reforms,” said Kwangari who took a swipe at BAZ saying community radio stations in the country were “worried about its composition”.

“There is a general feeling that the licensing body is not composed of the right people mainly because they are appointees and not elected by media organisations,” he said.

“Where there is no democracy, the media becomes the casualty.”

There are 12 community radio stations in the country, under the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) waiting for licences to operate.

Contacted for comment on the matter, Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu said he did not discuss matters on the phone.

“I do not discuss anything on the phone. You will have to arrange with me for a face-to-face (interview),” he said.

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