DEPUTY Information minister Supa Mandiwanzira yesterday said the government was considering licensing community radio stations in the 11 centres that did not receive applications for provincial commercial radios.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) made calls for application for licences last year. Mandiwanzira was speaking at a Misa-Zimbabwe breakfast meeting in Harare which is a prelude to the Press Freedom Day at the weekend.
“We have learnt that there are some places where it is not viable to have commercial radio stations according to the response we got when a call was made for commercial licences,” he said.
“These areas will receive priority to have community radio stations which we will roll out before the end of this year.”
Mandiwanzira added only nine of the 25 regions received applications for the commercial radio licences.
“In most cases there was one applicant except for Harare and Bulawayo,” he added. “BAZ is now expected to move to the next stage of licensing that will involve public hearings in the respective centres.”
Mandiwanzira said the ministry was happy that the media had made a Constitutional Court application on the constitutionality of criminal defamation law. He made the remarks in light of Daily News application after the arrest of their journalists for criminal defamation and their subsequent appearance at the courts on Monday.
“I am glad the matter has been taken to the Supreme Court for the courts to make a final determination on the constitutionality of the offending sections,” he said.
The government has recently been sending conflicting signals on whether it wants to retain criminal defamation laws on its statutes in light of the provisions of the new Constitution.
Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently defended the law.