Government will soon license a number of radio stations, a development that will see more players joining the industry in line with Zimbbwe's constitutional provisions for media plurality. The opening up of airwaves is part of the reform agenda Government is pursuing under President Mnangagwa's Second Republic.
Cabinet this week approved the repeal of the Access to Information and Privacy Protection Act (AIPPA) and reconstruction of media laws to align with the Constitution, in a major development for the media sector.
Licensing of new radio stations will commence shortly.
Addressing media practitioners and journalism students at World Radio Day commemorations held in Harare yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said Government was set to gazette the law which provides for licensing of community radio stations, faith-based and campus-based stations.
The commemorations were held under the theme, "Promoting Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace in Zimbabwe".
Mr Mangwana said licensing of new radio stations was on the Government agenda.
"We have it on our agenda to license community radio stations. Keep an eye on the Government gazette starting this Friday. We have removed the word 'pirate' radio stations from our vocabulary, and we hope everybody will do things within the law and get licensed to broadcast and legally operate within Zimbabwe. That is constitutionalism and the rule of law," said Mr Mangwana.
"We will license faith-based stations, campus-based stations, language-based stations and in short, we will license community-based radio stations," he said.
The announcement came a day after Cabinet resolved to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and amend the Police Act as the Second Republic demonstrated its determination to embark on reforms through aligning laws to the Constitution.
Mr Mangwana said Government stood to benefit from the increased number of radio stations in its development programmes.
"As long as the frequency spectrum is there, Government will license radio stations. Government does not fear community radio stations. It drills boreholes to communities. It also brings Command Agriculture to communities. It is in the process of constructing roads to make one community accessible to another," he said.
Mr Mangwana urged Zimbabweans to constructively use the radio to promote tolerance, dialogue and peace.
"Let us continue to promote dialogue using the radio. We should talk about the root cause of violence and how to prevent it. Let us use the radio to promote conversation and peace. It must be used for constructive intent. There is no reason for radio station to prop up tension between people of diverse political persuasions, between people of differ religious persuasion and between Government and its people. That will be abusing the platforms that we have," Mr Mangwana said.
Speaking at the same gathering, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) commissioner Dr Godfrey Chada said the radio, if used constructively, could promote dialogue, peace and tolerance in Zimbabwe.