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‘Airwaves still bereft of democracy’

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VOLUNTARY Media Council of Zimbabwe executive director Takura Zhangazha has said the opening-up of the airwaves should be a holistic process that allows for more players to enter the broadcasting industry.

Report by Wonai Masvingise, Senior Reporter

Zhangazha, who was speaking yesterday at the Independent Dialogue hosted by the Zimbabwe Independent in Harare, said although the awarding of two broadcasting licences to Zi-FM and Star FM was mired in controversy, at least it signified progress towards the opening-up of the airwaves.

The topic for the meeting was Deregulation of the Airwaves in Zimbabwe: Reality or Fiction?

“Reforming Zimbabwe’s broadcasting industry should be a holistic process,” Zhangazha said.

“There are controversies around this. The contestation around the airwaves has been controversial, it has been political and Parliament also waded into these controversies.”

He added: “We are not quite confident that things have actually changed. Yes, quantitatively, there has been some change in that there are now two more radio stations. What we have seen is a tentative beginning towards democratisation and liberalisation of the airwaves.”

AB Communications director and founder of Zi-FM Supa Mandiwanzira concurred, saying: “I agree with Takura that quantitatively there has been some change towards the liberalisation of the airwaves, but I do think that qualitatively there has been some change too.

“Previously, there were certain people you could not hear on ZBC, now you are hearing them on our stations.”

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