Liberalising the media explained
Government says opening the media space to different players is part of President Mnangagwa’s drive to give everyone a voice as a way of guaranteeing press freedom.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who was represented by her deputy Kindness Paradza, said this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Harare this week.
“To date, Government, through the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services has licensed not only television stations but also radio stations, both commercial and community. Fourteen community radio stations and seven campus radio stations were licensed.
“The Ministry also managed to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and replaced it with the friendly Freedom of Information Act,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“In February 2022, we launched one of the community radio stations, Avuxeni FM, in Chiredzi. The radio station is now fully functional and has been warmly received by the Chiredzi community and those from surrounding areas.
“It brings joy to us to be able to give a voice to the marginalised and previously left out communities. The aim of all the above-mentioned efforts is to make sure that we give voices to everyone in our country and to make sure that we leave no one and no place behind,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said her ministry was seized with the proposed amendments to the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill.
The Bill seeks to amend the Principal Act of 2000 whose major shortcoming was the lack of diversity and plurality in the sector.
The Amendment Bill seeks to further open up the airwaves by licensing community and campus radio stations and privately-owned TV stations.
“Although the Bill is yet to be enacted into law, a Statutory Instrument was gazetted which led to the licensing of campus radio stations, licensing of six privately owned television broadcasters and three language-based community radio stations.”