Recent reports in the media hinting that the government intends to set up community radio stations particularly in disaster prone rural communities are disturbing.
While it may be sound and noble for the government to have concern for the welfare of people living in outlying areas, it is our view as ZACRAS that government has no business in the setting up of community radio stations.
The new draft constitution released recently which is a product of serious political negotiation between the former ruling ZANU PF party and the two MDCs does not provide a real departure from the traditional position where the right to free expression and media freedom are subjected to some qualification. It is worrying to imagine that in Chapter 4, sections 61 and 62, these rights are given and then a provision for qualification by a parliamentary act is put. Are we not going back to our old situation where our constitution gives on one hand while the legislature takes on the other?
The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), an umbrella body of community radio stations and initiatives joins other broadcasting communities in commemorating World Radio Day, the 13th of February. This day was set aside by the United Nations as a way of creating awareness on the power of radio in not only bringing communities together, but also enhancing citizen participation through the promotion of access to information and basic information sharing. The Association notes that radio has remained one of the most powerful tools for community development, especially the community radio sector.