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Zimbabwe Approves Foreign Funding for Radio Stations

Zimbabwe's two only commercial radio stations face a bleak furure.

A senior official in the Information, Media and Information Broadcasting Services ministry, Anyway Mutambudzi, says local radio stations can now receive foreign funding subject to approval by his ministry.

Mutambudzi, a director of urban communications, told a Media Institute of Southern Africa –Zimbabwe Chapter broadcasting conference, in Harare that the ministry will have to vet the sources of funding for the local radio stations saying in life generally there are no free donations.

He said his ministry, in vetting the source of funding, will be trying to establish the donors’ motives in funding local stations.

He said government’s wish is that the Zimbabwean voice be controlled by Zimbabweans.

But participants at the one day conference where Mutambudzi spoke on behalf of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the government’s move to investigate foreign funders was suspicious.

Kumakomo Community Radio station manager, Evidence Chenjerai, said the move by the ministry is welcome provided the process would be fair and transparent.

MISA –Zimbabwe programs officer responsible for broadcasting, Kholiwe Majama, cautiously welcomed the move by the government to allow radio stations to start receiving foreign funding saying it would be ideal to have an independent board to receive and distribute funding to community radio stations rather than having the government controlling the process.

Meanwhile, participants expressed concern at the failure by the government to speed up the licensing of community radio stations.

But Mutambudzi said the government is committed to the establishment of community radio stations, adding the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is working on the licensing modalities.

Participants also expressed concern at the delay by parliament in realigning media laws to the new constitution but Mutambudzi said the process would commence once the ministry gets the findings of the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI).

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