Fresh TV, radio licences on way… as Mutsvangwa fights to open Zim airwaves more

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa

THE government said yesterday that it planned to open up the country’s airwaves further by issuing more television and radio licences to independent players.

Speaking during a well-supported Daily News’ 10th relaunch anniversary webinar, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, pictured, said the awarding of more broadcasting licences would be in keeping with the government’s commitment to promoting media pluralism in the country.

This comes hot on the heels of the recent historic awarding of commercial television licences to six new players in November last year — a move which saw the end of ZBC’s nearly 60 years of monopoly.

“Since 1956, Zimbabwe had only one television station but upon assuming office in 2018, and under the leadership of President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa, officials in my ministry have licensed more new players.

“The newly-licensed national television broadcasters were Jester Media Services trading as 3K TV, Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), Rusununguko Media trading as NRTV, Acacia Media trading as Kumba TV, Fairtalk Communication trading as Ke Yona TV, and Channel Dzimbahwe trading as Channel D.

“We expect these stations to be offering live broadcasts within 18 months from their licensing date of November 20.

“Additionally, in December 2020, Baz (the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe) awarded the first three licences to comunity radio stations.

“The licences were awarded to Mbembesi Development Trust, Ntepe-Manama Community Radio Trust and Nyangani Community Radio Trust,” Mutsvangwa — who succeeded in achieving all this where many before her failed — said.

“I want to assure you that the Second Republic is not stopping with the above licences, but is working on giving licences to more community radio stations and free-to-air private television stations.

“These are indeed interesting times and the Second Republic is not going back on giving information to people. We know the importance of reaching out to everyone.

“Let me also hasten to say President Mnangagwa’s government does not regard the existence of a free press as a luxury.

“Since the advent of the Second Republic we have done all in our power to make journalists operate in an ideal environment in which they can showcase their talents in addition to quickening their access to information from government departments,” Mutsvangwa said further.

“Allow me to challenge members of the Fourth Estate to understand that you are at the core of Zimbabwe’s development.

“Media has an important role to play in advancing a pro-poor development agenda, as well as supporting economic growth by stimulating consumer markets.

“At this point let me, however, emphasise that Zimbabwean media — irrespective of ownership — should be motivated by national interests. Be champions of nation-building to help the country achieve its developmental aspirations,” Mutsvangwa added.

Speaking at the same occasion, Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive director Loughty Dube spoke glowingly about the Daily News.

“The newspaper has been an alternative voice and has offered incisive coverage of the Zimbabwean story.

“I’m happy to say the newspaper has established itself as one of the leading news agencies in the country.

“A newspaper/news agency is worth the credibility which is derived from its ethical conduct and the Daily News has met that with so much distinction,” Dube said.

Prominent blogger and media personality, Takura Zhangazha, spoke about how the Daily News had been harassed before its unjust closure by the government of the late former president Robert Mugabe in September 2003 — including the barbaric bombing of its printing press in 2002.

“It’s important that this history is recognised because the Daily News has been the emblematic newspaper. It is not just a typical normal newspaper.

“It is a newspaper that came to the scene and changed perceptions and assumptions on how the media should function in Zimbabwe, mainly also because it was a daily paper to break new ground.

“I remember also having the opportunity to write for the Daily News way before it was banned as a young man.

“So the Daily News is also a paper that has cross generations and sought to give young Zimbabweans new opportunities for recognition in journalism,” Zhangazha said.

Advertising Media Association (Adma) chairperson, Stan Ndawana, also lauded the Daily News for the key role it plays in information dissemination in the country.

“Since it was re-launched a decade ago, the Daily News, along with its sister paper, the Daily News On Sunday, has been an exemplary member of Adma.

“The two papers have scrupulously observed advertising ethics which obligate media companies to respect the needs of consumers,” he said.

Zimbabwe Association of Accredited Practitioners in Advertising (Zaapa) chairperson, Barry Manandi, also saluted Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe for what it had achieved over the past decade despite naysayers having tipped it not to last the distance.

“It is with fond recollection that we look back to the journey and evolution that has taken place with this illustrious publication that has now become part of the fabric of Zimbabwean society.

“So innovative has been the team at the ANZ, that the Daily News is more than just a publication, but is indeed a point of reference and opinion leader in all matters concerning the Zimbabwean story.

“It is this story, and indeed journey, that we are so proud of as an advertising industry. The Zimbabwean story must, as a matter of course, be told by Zimbabweans, and it is with a plurality of voices that we truly find our centre,” Manandi said.

“The Daily News has been a pioneer in various respects … so, when we opened the newspaper and found various things interrupting the editorial content, almost in defiance of previously written rules, it didn’t surprise us.

“This pioneering and revolutionary spirit has always been at the core of what you do and who you are,” Manandi said further.

“For 10 years since your relaunch, you have taken these and many other Zimbabwean stories to the world, and we as your partners take this opportunity to thank you and encourage you to go even higher.

“Your positioning statement — telling it like it is — is most apt, as it talks to the aspiration of all of us as Zimbabweans. Let us all tell it like it is … telling the story of Zimbabwe that is a world of wonders,” he added.

Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation (Zarf) chief executive, Pamela Gwanzura, also praised ANZ for its commitment to contributing towards development in the country.

“We would like to congratulate our friends and long time partners the Daily News on this great milestone, where they are celebrating 10 more years of successful publishing.

“You have not only told it like it is, you have also contributed to positive developments within our economy and you have helped to nurture talent through your coverage of arts and culture.

“We salute you and here is to many more years of fighting the ills in society through the power of the pen,” Gwanzura said.

National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) executive director, Leonard Mandishora, similarly praised ANZ.

“I want to recognise the unique contributions by the Daily News over the last decade. Your consistency and commitment to share with the nation and the entire world developments, initiatives and stories of significance is unparalleled.

“The road was not smooth, but the vision and mission spurred you to do more and now we are here to celebrate 10 more years of success, impact and influence,” Mandishora said.

The inimitable Daily News and the Daily News On Sunday returned to the news stands in March 2011 after enduring eight painful years of closure by Mugabe’s administration.