By Paidashe Mandivengerei
Licensing of community radio stations nationwide has improve access to information in rural areas, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) has said.
ZACRAS promotes interests of community radio stations in Zimbabwe and has been at the fore front in campaigning for reform of the licensing process which will in turn ease access to information.
In 2020 the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) licensed six community radio stations, and one among them Ntepe Manama community radio a member of ZACRAS.
Recently BAZ issued operators’ licences to eight community radio stations. The eight newly licensed radio stations include five ZACRAS members; Twasumpuka Community Radio Trust, Radio Bukalanga, Vemuganga Community Radio Trust, Madziwa Community Radio Trust and Patsaka Nyaminyami Community Radio Trust (Kasambezi FM).
A total of six out of eight ZACRAS members that applied have been licensed so far.
Speaking to Bustop TV, ZACRAS national coordinator, Vivienne Marara said with community radio stations, rural communities which are often under represented can participate in developmental activities.
“Community radios improve access to information in rural communities by providing platforms for under represented to not only access information but also participate in development issues.
“Community radios enable bottom-up, vertical and horizontal information sharing.
“As such, rural communities will not only be passive consumers of information but also be actively involved in content production through utilisation of local languages,” she said.