HomeLocal NewsMandiwanzira, Zimpapers granted radio licences

Mandiwanzira, Zimpapers granted radio licences

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The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) yesterday announced Zimpapers and Supa Mandiwanzira’s AB Communications as the recipients of the two free-to-air national commercial radio broadcasting licenses.

Baz chairperson Tafataona Mahoso told journalists Talk Radio (Zimpapers) and Mandiwanzira’s Zi Radio had been granted licences ahead of Hot Media’s Kiss FM and VOX Media’s VOX FM after scoring the highest points in the selection process.

But media groups immediately dismissed the outcome as a farce and an indication that government was not sincere in its pledge to open up the broadcast media.

Mahoso, who does not hide his disdain for the independent media, did not entertain any questions from journalists.

MDC formations and other opposition parties have complained that Zimpapers is heavily biased towards Zanu PF.

Mandiwanzira, a former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation journalist and former president of the Affirmative Action Group, has been linked to Zanu PF.

He is the biggest shareholder in Zi FM with 70% followed by Hebert Nkala (15%), Urban Brew, a South African company (10%) and Molice Mandinyenya (5%) making the company 90% Zimbabwean-owned.

MISA-Zimbabwe chairperson Njabulo Ncube said the move was predictable adding the two companies given licences were not different to ZBC.
“It’s tantamount to applying lipstick to a frog,” Ncube said.

“It was and still our belief that as long as Baz is not reconstituted, Zimbabwe will not have genuine independent broadcasters.”

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe director Takura Zhangazha said as long as the Broadcasting Services Act was in place the airwaves would remain closed to independent players.

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