Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Chairman Tafataona Mahoso on Wednesday snubbed a conference on community broadcasting organised by Civil Society organisations in Bulawayo, triggering accusations by the civic groups who felt the Zanu PF-aligned BAZ boss was not serious about media freedom.
Radio Dialogue public relations officer Kudzai Kwangwari said Mahoso’s absence showed he did not have respect for the people.
“In a letter to radio dialogue Mahoso said the issues that would be discussed in the conference are currently the subject of litigation against the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“In the same letter, Mahoso said BAZ’s legal team advised (him) that it was improper for BAZ to answer questions in the conference and until the court makes its decision, BAZ will refrain from public arguments on the very same questions to be decided by a court of law,” he said.
“Mahoso does not have time and does not think it is important to come and meet with the people, this group of people, who are discussing a very serious matter. This is dangerous.”
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive director Takura Zhangazha said the manner in which BAZ was issuing licences was improper.
“The government is afraid of the idea of a free media. They do not want people to enjoy their right to express themselves. BAZ must be democratic and stop being a body that is merely privileged to continue lying to us,” he said. In an interview with NewsDay yesterday BAZ Chairperson Tafataona Mahoso said he did not attend the broadcasting conference and therefore cannot make a comment regarding any matter that was discussed at the conference. “I did not attend that conference therefore I cannot comment on anything that was discussed there,” he said.