Government celebrates new voices on World Radio Day

11 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Government celebrates new voices on World Radio Day Mr Nick Mangwana

The Sunday News

Emmanuel Kafe, Harare Bureau

ON Tuesday, Zimbabwe, just like many countries around the world, will celebrate World Radio Day, particularly at a time when the Government has freed the airwaves and licensed over 14 community radio stations as part of far-reaching media reforms.

The theme for this year’s celebrations — Radio: A century informing, entertaining and educating —  shines a light on radio’s remarkable past, relevant present and promise of a dynamic future.

Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said the day provides an opportunity to reflect on the achievements Government has made in terms of radio connectivity and infrastructure development.

“World Radio Day is a day for us to celebrate the milestones which have been made in our radio broadcasting industry.

“Our mandate as a ministry is to communicate Government policies to the citizens in real-time, leaving no one and no place behind,” said Mr Mangwana.

“So on World Radio Day, we take stock of the milestones in terms of radio connectivity and infrastructure development and reflect on areas which need attention.”

The Government, he said, has made huge strides in establishing new radio stations, particularly in under-represented communities and regions.

“The ministry has licensed 14 community radio stations and all are at different stages of broadcasting. 

“We are in the process of capacitating Transmedia and Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to ensure they put in place infrastructure which will see these community radio stations operating at full capacity for the benefit of the communities they serve,” he added.

“These community radio stations are serving previously marginalised communities which received poor or no signals at all from the traditional radio players. The idea of community radios is aimed at having content for the community by the community.

“We have situations whereby some communities depended on foreign broadcast, for example, Plumtree, but now with the birth of Radio BuKalanga, which was launched in December, the Plumtree community celebrate their voice.”

 Mr Mangwana said not only has Government opened up airwaves to community radio stations but it had also licensed nine campus radio stations to date.

Further, Government intends to continue supporting the training and capacity-building of radio broadcasters to enhance the quality and professionalism of radio programming.

BAZ is currently seized with training community broadcasters and citizen journalists around the country.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation regional adviser for communication and information Mr Al-Amin Yusuph said Zimbabwe’s 14 radio stations have a total reach of over one million audiences living in rural areas.

“The reach of community radios has promoted access to development information and early warning communication to citizens in the rural areas of Zimbabwe. 

“Through the use of local languages in broadcasting, community radios promote linguistic diversity and culture among the citizens of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“The community radios have also become one of the most trusted and listened to source of vital information for communities in rural areas.

“For instance, during the 2024 harmonised elections, the community radios facilitated access to verified voter information, thus promoting social cohesion and peace sustenance by addressing misinformation during the elections.”

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