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The Tsholotsho community in Matabeleland North yesterday told the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) that Government must speed up the setting up of community radio stations. Government is on record as saying community radios would be licensed by year end. Participants at an IMPI public hearing in Tsholotsho told the panel that community radios were necessary to cover the gap as they were struggling to get radio and television signals.

Participants also castigated the media for focusing on negative issues and neglecting developmental issues. They also complained that the media did not cover local events.

One villager, Hebert Mpofu from Ward 13 in Tsholotsho, said radio and television signals should be improved for locals to access public broadcasts.

“We don’t receive the signal for ZTV and radio here in Tsholotsho,” he said.

“We resort to listening to foreign radio stations who broadcast issues that have nothing to do with us. People at times resort to climbing trees (to get airwaves) to listen to the news.”

Mpofu called on Government to licence a community radio station, Radio Zhwane, which he said was ready to broadcast to the people of Tsholotsho.

Tsholotsho Rural District Council vice chairperson Mr Dora Mkwananzi told the panel that before independence Tsholotsho had a radio station at the Mbamba area which should be resuscitated.

“Media focus on negative issues and at times distort facts to sell their papers. We don’t want that lets all talk about developmental issues that improve people’s lives.”

Other issues presented to the panel were lack of cellphone coverage in some areas, artists shunning rural areas and public media shunning local arts and music. Villagers urged Government to act on their proposals.

IMPI chairman Geoffrey Nyarota said he was pleased with the attendance and quality of contributions.

He said media polarisation and inappropriate content were the recurrent issues being raised at public meetings.

Source : The Herald