Radio is the cocktail of all subjects and topics: from geography, to politics, economics, democracy, human rights, climate change, culture, religion, gender, and development.
It keeps people updated with current affairs information, it is the class for educating the masses, it provides a stage for infor-tainment, it is a couch that connects communities, it is the boardroom for business development, it is the theatre for rhoburst debate, and the home for socio,economic and cultural growth – that is the power of radio.
Radio stands today as one of the most powerful tools and radio personalities are one of the most influential persons of our societies. The power of radio has been over years proved by its ability to be used to mobilize for genocide, nonviolent democratic transitions, coups, service delivery accountability and protests, etc.
As we at Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) join the progressive world in commemorating 2019 World Radio Day under the Theme: Dialogue, Tolerance Peace we observed the following about radio in Zimbabwe:
- There are still communities in Matabeleland (especially Matabeleland South) which have no access to radio signal and are relying on Botswana, South Africa and Studio 7.
- During the Gukurahundi genocide that killed over 20 000 Mmatabele civilians (between 1983 – 1986) the Zimbabwean government used radio to blackout information and promote misinformation and propaganda.
- The government of Zimbabwe is still refusing to license community radio stations.
We at MIHR therefore call on the government of Zimbabwe to promote Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace by licensing community radio stations and ensuring that all communities have radio reception.