News / Africa

Zimbabwe Gets Privately-Owned Radio Station

HARARE - For the first time in 32 years Zimbabwe has a privately-owned FM radio station.  Star Radio, which went on the air Monday, was awarded a license last year by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. The station is owned by the company that operates the country's major newspapers, which politically support President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.
 
Star Radio hit Zimbabwe’s airwaves Monday afternoon, making it the first privately-owned radio to broadcast on the FM frequency.  Radio listeners have been waiting for the station since last year when the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe awarded Star Radio a license along with a company believed to have links with President Mugabe's family.

Zimbabwe’s national anthem followed the countdown to air.  And then Admire Taderera, Star Radio's manager, made the announcement.

"For the last 32 years Zimbabwe has only known one broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, who have been forerunners in this industry.  Last year, Zimpapers was awarded a license.  Today we witness the commencement of that broadcast.  We are here as part of the history makers," Taderera said.

But for Nhlanhla Ngwenya, the head of Misa-Zimbabwe, an organization which fights for media plurality in southern Africa, Star Radio is unlikely to make real history.

"So while it is good for Zimbabwe that we now have another player in the broadcasting industry, we doubt that its content will translate to an alternative platform form of communication. It would have been good if new player was going to bring diversity.  As far as we can see, and going by the remarks [by Mugabe's spokesman], we can only see an extension of propaganda empire," Nhlanhla said.

The remarks he is referring to were made by presidential spokesperson George Charamba earlier this month.  He said Star Radio must be patriotic. In Zimbabwe, “patriotism” is usually associated with glorifying President Mugabe and ZANU-PF policies.

After the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe board awarded Star Radio a license last year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai described the move as a legal nullity, saying the board was not properly constituted.

But minister of information Webster Shamu, an ally of Mugabe, dismissed Tsvangirai’s assertions in parliament this year.

Star Radio joins five other radio stations on the air, all owned by the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.  

Zimbabwe's media laws make it tough to start a broadcasting or publishing company.  Besides paying high application fees, the company must go through a tedious bureaucratic and political process.  As a result, most radio stations targeting Zimbabwe operate from outside the country, broadcasting through short-wave radio or the internet.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid