The Herald

Leonard Ncube in Binga

Government is working on establishing 10 new community radio stations countrywide in the first quarter to empower marginalised communities through universal access to information.

The pilot project is targeting communities whose languages are not at present “on air”, with Binga and Hwange being the only two districts to benefit in Matabeleland North.

Other stations will be in Plumtree and Gwanda in Matabeleland South as well as stations in Shamva, Chikombedzi, Chipinge, Nyanga and Chimanimani.

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The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) are   hosting community radio sensitisation workshops.

BAZ is waiting for the gazetting of regulations and revision of the broadcasting frequency plan while the licensing authority will be calling for applications soon.

Speaking in Binga yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Nick Mangwana, who was represented by the Chief Director from his office, Mr Chrispen Makoni, said Government seeks to grow the broadcasting industry to higher levels.

Mr Mangwana said some communities lag behind in terms of development communication owing to the cost of newspapers and unavailability of broadcasting frequency in their localities.

Binga hardly accesses local broadcasting stations as it relies on foreign radio especially from Zambia.

Mr Mangwana said Government had also made strides in ensuring that communities receive radio signals with six national and 10 commercial stations in place.

He said Binga was chosen to preserve the Tonga language, culture, identity and spearhead community development.

Deputy Director in Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo’s office Mr Tapera Mugoriya said community radio stations will go a long way in ensuring that remote communities stay in touch.

He said a local radio station in Binga will be used to market tourism, fishing and culture while also uniting people.

Government will assist communities with radio infrastructure and support for operations and training.

Chief Sikalenge of Binga said the development is a welcome initiative which will bring pride to the district.

Binga business community member Mr Pilate Dube and resident Mr Sam Sibanda said a community radio was long overdue and vowed to support the initiative.