The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has criticized the Zimbabwean government for entrenching its grip on the media by only licensing radio stations with links to Zanu PF.
The licensing authority announced Tuesday it had granted eight regional commercial radio broadcasting permits.
Two of the beneficiaries, AB Communications and Zimpapers – both with ties to the ruling party - are already running a station each in Harare after securing licenses a few years ago.
AB Communication, founded by Minister Super Mandiwanzira, will establish Faya FM in Gweru and Gogogoi FM in Masvingo, while Zimpapers will operate Diamond FM in Mutare.
The other recipients are Ray of Hope, which will run Ya FM in Zvishavane and Kingstones, which will operate Nyaminyami FM in Kariba and KE100.4 FM in Harare.
Fairtalk Communications, owned by playright Cont Mhlanga will run Skyz Metro FM in Bulawayo and Breeze FM in Victoria Falls.
Misa-Zimbabwe director Nhlanhla Ngwenya cried bias, saying truly independent players were denied licenses.
He said his organization will continue engaging the government on the need for a true and complete liberalization of the airwaves.
Legendary broadcaster Ezra Tshisa Sibanda, whose Skies FM was denied a permit, said he was disappointed.