The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe says it has received 15 applications for radio licenses in response to its announcement in late May that it would license two commercial stations in response to calls for liberalization of the media.
Applicants include the Voice of the People, which already broadcasts to Zimbabwe from a Madagascar transmission station under Radio Netherlands sponsorship.
The broadcasting authority has been under heavy pressure to license new players in electronic media following the emergence of several independent daily newspapers.
Following procedure under the Broadcasting Services Act, applicants are required to publish applications in a national paper within seven days of submitting applications. The authority said it would only process applications with proof of such announcements.
Advocacy Officer Tabani Moyo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe said the establishment of independent broadcasters would not only increase diversity but also financially bolster Zimbabwean media by tapping new revenue sources.
But Community Radio Harare, which has brought a court action against the broadcasting authority in connection with an earlier application that was refused, complained that it was again excluded because it is not a commercial station.
CORAH Coordinator Stewart Musiwa said the call for commercial license applications ignored the large number of aspiring community radio stations, which he says can meet the information needs of Zimbabweans better than commercial broadcasters.