BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
WARREN Park MP Shakespear Hamauswa (MDC Alliance) has urged the government to allow community radio stations to get donor funding to ensure their viability.
The Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) does not provide for foreign direct investment in the sector.
But Hamauswa said the law must be amended to ensure community radios remain viable in the face of dwindling advertising revenue.
“Community radio stations are not comfortable with the clause which doesn’t allow donor funding to support their operations. So as an MP, it is my view that the Broadcasting Services Act must be amended to allow for donor funding for community radio stations, Hamauswa said at meeting hosted by Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) on Thursday in Harare.
“Government should come up with regulations on how donor funding can be used to support community radio stations without compromising the interest of the country and ownership of the community radio stations and their autonomy so that they can come up with their own programmes.”
Zacras programmes officer Mlondolozi Ndlovu said community radio stations were facing funding challenges, and urged the government to operationalise funding mechanisms stipulated in the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Act.
“Another challenge is their failure to broadcast what is termed as political content. We feel that life is political and communities would want to know about their politics. So this definition of the law should be amended to ensure that communities actually discuss what they want as long as these issues do not insult anyone,” Ndlovu said.
He said radio stations are facing capacity building challenges because local companies were not willing to fund them, adding that the other challenge is lack of equipment.