Gwanda (New Ziana) The Manama community in Gwanda North constituency has been allocated a frequency range to operate a community radio station as part of government efforts to ensure remote areas have access to information.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services chief director Crispen Makoni told delegates at a community radio awareness campaign at Manama hall last Thursday that his Ministry was making strides in ensuring that “marginalised” communities received radio signals.
“The government is mandated to avail radio signals to all communities in the country because citizens have the right to receive and disseminate information,” he said.
“The Ministry chose Manama as one of the first communities to establish a community radio station as Sotho is on of the 16 official languages. This will result in the preservation of culture, identity and be used as a tool for development.
“The Manama community radio model was different from other stations, as it would be owned and operated by the community, within the community, for the community and about the community.”
Speaking at the same event, Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Minister Abedinico Ncube, who is also the Gwanda South Member of the National Assembly, said the licensing of community radios was long overdue.
“We want this community radio station to work for us in a positive manner, reporting issues of development, highlighting the drought situation and giving us updates on current affairs,” he said.
“People resort to foreign radio stations such as Studio 7. All border lying areas do not have access to radio. Places like, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Bulilima, Mangwe and Gwanda do not have access to radio and television. We want to hear our stories being told by our own reporters from the communities that they live.”
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), vice chairperson Audrey Chiwota said the only available spectrum was on 103.8 Frequency Modulation.
“The government of Zimbabwe has realised that it has the mandate to fulfill the three tie system in broadcasting, namely public broadcasting, commercial broadcasting and community broadcasting.
“Out of the three tie, we currently have two, meaning that we have to fulfill our Constitutional mandate of licensing community broadcasting. We have so far allocated 10 frequency spectrums that are to be allocated to marginalised communities and Manama is one of the beneficiaries who will be broadcasting under 103.8 frequency modulation. I therefore urge the Manama community to come up with a community radio structure that will suit our prerequisites.
Ward 17 Councillor Ephraim Nyathi said as a community they had been waiting for the call for application for community radio licensing for the past 11 years.
“Finally, we are happy that you have decided to give us a community radio license,” he said.
“I am glad to announce that the Sotho people have an existing structure under the banner of Ntepe community radio station which has a fully fledged board, an editorial department, content programming and we are ready for licensing. The structure was established in 2009 for the sole purpose of developing our community,” he added.
A teacher from Manana school, Nkosiyenkosi Sibanda also welcomed the move, saying it would assist in explaining the new educational curriculum to parents.
“The new educational curriculum speaks of sports, arts and culture but parents do not understand it as they want their children to concentrate on academics only,” she said.
“With a community radio, this will be a great opportunity for both us teachers and pupils to go and air our views about the new curriculum,” she added.