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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs