Government has commended diversified media group Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd's Diamond FM 103.8 radio station for its extensive coverage of the Cyclone Idai national disaster and contributing to disseminating information that helped the country receive donor funding for the victims.
Addressing media houses, journalists and residents gathered to celebrate World Radio Day in Gweru yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the radio station played a crucial role during and after Cyclone Idai.
"Radio also plays a critical role in times of disasters as experienced during Cyclone Idai," she said.
"While most media played their role during Cyclone Idai, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Diamond FM 103.8 radio station for extensively covering the national disaster.
"The station took full advantage of its closeness to the event and rose to the occasion to give its best in a manner that significantly reduced the negative impact of the disaster."
Minister Mutsvangwa said she witnessed the disaster first hand as a senator for Manicaland-Chimanimani.
"I am the senator for the area which was ravaged by the Cyclone Idai and I would like to personally appreciate the critical role that Diamond FM played in our fight to save lives and information dissemination," said Minister Mutsvangwa.
"Zimpapers chief executive (Mr Pikirayi Deketeke) spoke glowingly about the role that was played by Diamond FM in Cylcone Idai and I must attest to that."
Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe was opening up the airwaves for more radio stations so that information quickly reaches the audience, especially in times of disasters.
She said the opening up of radio stations should not be abused to fan divisions and promote hatred among Zimbabweans.
Speaking at the same function, Mr Deketeke, who gave a solidarity message, said Zimpapers was looking forward to the challenge from new radio and television stations to be opened under the New Dispensation.
"We see this as a challenge and we are looking forward to it," he said.
"World Radio Day is our day, we need to celebrate it for we are licensed to serve."
Mr Deketeke said the Zimpapers Group, had outside print, four radio stations, which tell the Zimbabwean story.
"As Zimpapers, our responsibility is bigger than making business and profits, but to tell our Zimbabwean story," he said. "For example, our Diamond FM in Manicaland was the first to communicate the Cyclone Idai disaster.
"We will continue to play a role in pushing the agenda of economic development for our country."