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Radio licences back in spotlight

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Uzumba MP, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Zanu PF) on Friday called for the opening up of community radio stations saying they were critical for minority groups in Zimbabwe.

Mudarikwa said this during a workshop organised by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (WMCZ) for MPs from the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Media Information and Publicity in Nyanga.

The workshop was meant to enhance MPs’ knowledge on issues to do with media self regulation. “Community radios are critical in a situation where Zimbabweans suppress minority communities, for example, people from Chipinge must be able to hear issues discussed in their languages on the radio,” said Mudarikwa.

“The media is not supposed to promote ethnic conflict like what happened in Rwanda. We need to protect life and so even in political reporting, journalists must not be seen like politicians representing certain political parties,” he said.

VMCZ board member, Chris Chinaka said media self regulation had the ability to minimise harm caused by journalists to people through their reportage of stories and to engender professionalism in the field.

Speaking after the workshop, chairman of the committee, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya said the country needed co-regulative measures as it was the way to go with regards to the inclusivity of Zimbabwe’s political situation in the context of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

“Media reforms are taking too long and although I do not want to pre-empty the business of the committee, in the next few weeks we will try to bridge the gap between delays inherent in solving issues of media reforms that are specified in the GPA Article 19 and we will call ministers to appear before the committee on that,” he said.

Chikwinya said the committee will also be monitoring progress in opening up of the airwaves and issues to do with the composition of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) board.

“We will monitor the ministers’ conduct in as far as complying with the BAZ Act and the constitution in implementing media reforms,” Chikwinya said.

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