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Rural Community Radio Station in Zimbabwe Reports Police Pressure

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Ntepe Initiative members rejected charges by the police that the station was linked to the former opposition MDC and spread negative information about President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF

Organizers of a rural community radio initiative in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South province say they fear they could be silenced soon following a series of police visits to Ntepe Community Radio Initiative members to ask about the station’s aims.

The fledgling radio station does not broadcast over the airwaves but distributes its audio programs on compact discs handed out to the public.

Members of the initative said police charged that the station was linked to the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change and spread negative information about President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF, a charge the initiative rejects.

The radio initiative was launched in 2010 by the Media Institue of Southern Africa's Zimbabwe chapter and the Zimbabwe Association of Community Stations.

During the creation of the radio station MISA officials said they planned to broadcast through alternative means, using tape recorders to record and edit the programs.

The pre-recorded audio programs will be put onto compact discs and distributed to their membership, which is the community within their areas. Shop owners and business people within Ntepe would be asked to play the programs thus distributed.

MISA-Zimbabwe Deputy Chairman Kumbirai Mafunda said the station was created for development purposes. He said the crackdown on its members offers further evidence of the latest official clampdown on press freedoms in Zimbabwe.

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