Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Maridadi blasts BAZ over radio licences

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MABVUKU-TAFARA MP, James Maridadi yesterday blasted the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) for continuously issuing radio licences to the same players linked to the State and the ruling Zanu PF party.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Maridadi was contributing to debate on a report presented in the National Assembly by chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, William Dhewa, which recommended that radio stations should be supported with foreign currency to import equipment.
Dhewa’s report recommended that radio stations, even private ones, should get security from the army and the police in order to avoid situations like the Rwanda genocide, which was spread through radio broadcasts.
“Local radio stations must be guarded by State security like soldiers and the police by March 2018 to avoid situations like the genocide in Rwanda,” Dhewa said.
But Maridadi, who seconded the motion, said it was not necessary for private radio stations to be guarded by the army or the police, as it is not sustainable.
“First of all, I would like to point out that we have a number of radio stations, but they are owned by the same people, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, AB Communications or Zimpapers, and Skyz Metro and Breeze FM,” he said.
“No private radio station must be guarded by soldiers or the police, they must be able to secure their own security, and it should only be government radio stations that are secured by the army and police because government cannot be allowed to incur expenses to secure independent radio stations.”
Dhewa’s report had also decried the high costs of establishing radio stations, and that most commercial radio stations visited by the committee had complained of the 40-kilometre radius restrictions, saying that it limited the number of listeners.
Maridadi said most radio stations were struggling to survive because of the radius restrictions.
He said they were failing to even pay their employees’ salaries on time because of very limited advertising.
The MP said the only adverts that radio stations and media houses were fighting for were from companies like Econet Wireless, Telecel, NetOne, and Delta Beverages.
However, he said it meant that the main advertisers would influence media content, which is not good for the industry.