Zacras urges govt to open up media

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) recently commemorated the third edition of the International Day of Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) as the organisation continues to push for the opening up of community radio airwaves in the country.

The day was celebrated under the theme, “Good Laws and Practices for Open Societies: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information.”

“As we commemorate this day we urge the government of Zimbabwe to open up the media especially broadcasting media which is known to be affordable and effective when it comes to mass communication,” Zacras acting national coordinator Kudzie Kwangwari said.

“The notion of open societies is only possible in a situation where there is free media,” he said.

On November 17, 2015, Unesco adopted a resolution (38 C/70) declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

The day was set aside as a way of encouraging and recognising the role information access plays in supporting development interventions.

The day has particular relevance with the new 2030 UN Development Agenda, as being guided by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

“It is our view as community radio sub-sector that community radio has a strategic role to play in the realisation of the 2030 Development Agenda,” Kwangwari said.

“We view information as an enabler which assists citizens to exercise and enjoy other rights. Community radio is key in promoting access to information and freedom of expression and as such must be supported and encouraged.”

Kwangwari described the move by government to fail to licence community radio stations as anti-development.

“In our view denying community radios and other forms of community media is a negation of development agenda. Community radios are especially effective in rural and marginalised communities where media access is limited due to various reasons,” he said.

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