Editorial Comment: We say ‘no’ to pirate radio stations

Prof Moyo

Prof Moyo

We found the comments by Dutch Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Gera Sneller that she saw nothing wrong with the pirate radio station Voice of the People’s broadcasts into Zimbabwe because it was broadcasting in line with the law in the Netherlands quite condescending and an insult to our collective intelligence.
For those who may have missed the story, Ambassador Sneller paid a courtesy call on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo on Wednesday and in their deliberations, Prof Moyo expressed concern at the continued pirate broadcasts by the Netherlands-funded and hosted Radio VOP saying though the Dutch government had supported the liberation struggle it had not, at any time, funded a radio station to abet the cause of the Zanla and Zipra guerillas but now that Zimbabwe was independent, the Dutch were ironically funding a radio station for regime change propaganda.

In her response, Ambassador Sneller said as long as the radio station was legal under Dutch law, she saw no problem with its broadcasts into Zimbabwe.
It appeared lost on the ambassador that Zimbabwe and the Netherlands are two different countries and that even though we use Roman-Dutch law, our statutes do not allow pirate broadcasts.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, in particular, outlaws stations that are not licensed in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act.
BAZ has, in fact, since licensed two national stations and invited applications for community radio stations, where all applicants who are wholly or partly funded by foreigners do not stand a chance.

We thus find it odd that Ambassador Sneller believes that since Radio VOP is abiding by Dutch laws, it has the carte blanche to violate Zimbabwean laws.
This is the same thinking that sees the West refuse to accept the verdict of Zimbabweans as long as that verdict does not dovetail with the West’s foreign policy goals.

We find it quite odd that Westerners, in this day and age, still believe that their opinion is supreme, and our opinion inferior, even though Zimbabwean voters have retained the same verdict since our inaugural elections in 1980.

We would like to remind Ambassador Sneller of the absurdity of her position.
Diplomatic exchanges are predicated on mutual recognition.

When she was posted to Zimbabwe, she presented her credentials to President, and in so doing recognised him as the legitimate Head of State and Government of Zimbabwe, which mandate derives from millions of Zimbabweans who, even from the days of the dysfunctional inclusive Government, under the Global Political Agreement, collectively condemned the pirate radio stations.

We also take this opportunity to urge Zanu-PF and the Government it leads to walk the talk on the pirate radio stations.
On one hand, the revolutionary party is quite clear that pirate broadcasts are illegal but many a time we have heard Government officials and ministers being interviewed on the same pirate stations.

With such an ambivalent approach to the pirate stations on the part of Government, the Snellers of this world will continue thumping their long noses at our national laws.

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  • listener

    The government refused to give these foreign based radio stations licences and instead awarded them to Zanu PF aligned Star FM and ZiFM . I see nothing wrong with the Dutch government .

  • ivor payne

    Kindly advise exactly which law is being broken?…since when do radio stations in foreign countries, like the BBC, have to comply with Zimbabwean licencing laws? What is “pirate” about a radio station simply because it can be received in Zimbabwe and it is not a Zimbabwean government station? Why is Zimbabwe the only country in the region with no independent electronic media?

  • muzukuru

    Award these stations licences and properly advise them on rules and regulations required locally on daily operations!

  • Svinurai

    Would ambassador Sneller see no problem if a foreign government funded a pirate radio station which broadcasts content in the Netherlands that undermines the Dutch government by clearly instigating illegal regime change?

    What would be her government’s response if the foreign country funding such a pirate radio station says it does not see any problem with the radio piracy because the piracy does not violate any home laws of the funder?

    It is important to note that ambassador Sneller is shameless, and her brand of diplomatic reasoning has no place in the 21st century.Zimbabwe as a country is allowing a snake to enjoy its sunshine, its hospitality and we all know what snakes do to their hosts at the end!Why did she come to Zimbabwe in the first place?She should pack her bags and leave our country because we have nothing to do with such a Judas Iscariot.She should go home and listen to Radio VOP and learn about Zimbabwe through that pirate radio station which her government funds.

    What is in Radio VOP for the Netherlands? How Sneller summons the courage to justify on the basis of her home laws the invasion of the airwaves of another sovereign nation confirms that imperialism is still rife, and it is often disguised in diplomatic robes.

    It was legal for Hitler to send millions of Jews to the gass chambers and because it was legal, he saw no problems with that genocide.It is legal for the Americans to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe and because it is legal in their own view, they see no problem with the suffering of the ordinary Zimbabweans.Never mind that the US sanctions on Zimbabwe have no United Nations endorsement!

    For how long should bully nations be left to hide behind their unjust laws designed to airbrush their atrocious conduct on this globe?

    And when we have foolish government officials and ministers legitimizing the pirate radio stations by accepting to be interviewed on them,then one really knows who is abetting the suffering of the ordinary Zimbabweans!

  • Svinurai

    Would
    ambassador Sneller see no problem if a foreign government funded a
    pirate radio station which broadcasts content in the Netherlands that
    undermines the Dutch government by clearly instigating illegal regime
    change?

    What
    would be her government’s response if the foreign country funding such a
    pirate radio station says it does not see any problem with the radio
    piracy because the piracy does not violate any home laws of the funder?

    It
    is important to note that ambassador Sneller is shameless, and her
    brand of diplomatic reasoning has no place in the 21st century.Zimbabwe
    as a country is allowing a snake to enjoy its sunshine, its hospitality
    and we all know what snakes do to their hosts at the end!Why did she
    come to Zimbabwe in the first place?She should pack her bags and leave
    our country because we have nothing to do with such a Judas Iscariot.She
    should go home and listen to Radio VOP and learn about Zimbabwe through
    that pirate radio station which her government funds.

    What
    is in Radio VOP for the Netherlands? How Sneller summons the courage to
    justify on the basis of her home laws the invasion of the airwaves of
    another sovereign nation confirms that imperialism is still rife, and it
    is often disguised in diplomatic robes.

    It
    was legal for Hitler to send millions of Jews to the gass chambers and
    because it was legal, he saw no problems with that genocide.It is legal
    for the Americans to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe and because it is
    legal in their own view, they see no problem with the suffering of the
    ordinary Zimbabweans.Never mind that the US sanctions on Zimbabwe have
    no United Nations endorsement!

    For
    how long should bully nations be left to hide behind their unjust laws
    designed to airbrush their atrocious conduct on this globe?

    And
    when we have foolish government officials and ministers legitimizing
    the pirate radio stations by accepting to be interviewed on them,then
    one really knows who is abetting the suffering of the ordinary
    Zimbabweans!

  • Zvaiwana Ngwarati

    Sickening irony
    We were told SABC cannot be broadcasting in Zimbabwe via DSTV as it violates Zimbabwean laws yet Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC are doing so. Kuda kuti jairira. Let these stations do so freely.

  • wanjere

    My god – the ignorance of the Herald editor iis too obvious. How come nobody at the Herald seems to have any training ro knowledge of journalism and their duties to inform – and not just support a kleptocracy and its lies. What a shocking editorial – that does nothing but insist that the Herald’s propaganda is the truth. This is the same newspaper that still calls sanctions “illegal” when they are LEGAL. Please get some training in journalsim before you sprout this ignorant rubbish

  • Wiliam Mudyanavana (VaChasura)

    I think we have better issues to spend our energy on to worry about radio stations. Why not give the listeners a choice on what to listen to than dictate to them? Ini I last listened to the radio when they banned Radio 1, 2, 3, 4. For news I read on the net for music I buy my cds