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Women Urge Govt to Priotize Licensing of Community Stations

  • Nothando Sibanda

The government should prioritise the licensing of community radio stations as this will go a long way towards helping vulnerable groups articulate issues affecting them.

Speaking at a workshop on reporting human rights issues in Bulawayo on Friday, director of the Women's Media for Development, Sibusisiwe Bhebhe, said the media space in the country is too commercialised to accommodate human rights issues, especially those affecting vulnerable groups.

Bhebhe said countries in the region that have opened up airwaves have improved information dissemination strategies which encourage the participation of all citizens in governance and community development issues.

She said mainstream media makes it difficult for practitioners to highlight human rights issues due to ownership structures.

Women rights activist, Mable Nkomo, said the media in the country excludes vulnerable groups, especially women, preferring to stereotype them whenever they are covered.

Vulnerable groups, she said, need community media which is not commercial oriented to raise their issues and have their voices heard.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Jonathan Moyo is on record saying the licensing authority will be calling for community radio applications as soon as the country completes the digitalisation process.

the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is currently seeking applications for licensing provincial commercial radio stations.