by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (ITNews Zimbabwe) – CHALLENGES faced by community radio stations in accessing information comes under scrutiny when Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating the World Radio Day in the Midlands provincial capital, Gweru on Thursday.
The event will take place at the Gweru Civic Center where the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services will be the guest of honour.
A plenary session will be held that will involve the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) and Transmedia.
ZACRAS, through its Twitter handle, has already set the tone when it noted that they face challenges in gathering news and accessing information from public institutions and how that impacts on the content they deliver to the public.
Zimbabwe is going through a raft of media reforms that has seen the contentious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) repealed and replaced with a somewhat less draconian media law.
13 February is a date proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate radio broadcast, improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters and encourage decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio, including community radios.
It’s an occasion to draw attention to the unique value of radio, which remains the medium to reach the widest audience and is currently taking up new technological forms and devices.
In a statement, UNESCO said it encourages all countries to celebrate this Day by undertaking activities with diverse partners, such as national, regional and international broadcasting associations and organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media organizations, outlets as well as the public at large.
UN Secretary-General-— António Guterres said: “Radio brings people together. In an era of rapid media evolution, radio retains a special place in every community as an accessible source of vital news and information.”
“But radio is also a source of innovation that pioneered interaction with audiences and user-generated content decades before they became mainstream. Radio offers a wonderful display of diversity in its formats, in its languages, and among radio professionals themselves.
“This sends an important message to the world. As we strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and tackle the climate crisis, radio has a key role to play as a source of information and inspiration alike.”
On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the enduring power of radio to promote diversity and help build a more peaceful and inclusive world.