Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zimbabwe's Bonkers Ban

Elections coming up in Zimbabwe and Kenya. Wonder what role radio will play? 
As far as Harare is concerned, the police there seem to be emulating the Nazi's in the Netherlands back in 1994 when they confiscated all radios, with wired radios being the only equipment allowed. In the case of Zimbabwe the message is confusing. Opposition Voice of the People says the ban is on the possession of shortwave radios. 
Harare, February 20, 2013 - Zimbabwe Republic Police on Tuesday threatened to arrest anyone found distributing or in possession of shortwave radios.
“We have information that some people or political parties are engaging in illegal activities, that is to say they are distributing illegal communication devices to unsuspecting members of the public," said National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba. "Some are taking advantage of the needy communities and in guise of helping them they are also handing them over these communication devices,” she said. 
Voice of America Studio 7 also covered the story. Wonder if the ban will mean the foreign stations will refrain from playing jingles which might be heard by security forces out in the streets. It is so sad. Zimbabwe once the bread basket of Africa. Now the basket case.

Zimbabwe’s Co-Home Affairs Ministers responded Wednesday to a nationwide ban of communication devices by police saying they cannot confiscate radios unless they can prove that the radios are illegal transmitters, not simply receivers. Minister Theresa Makone told VOA  that she, along with co-minister Kembo Mohadi, met with Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, and instructed him to halt confiscations.

The role of radio in conflict areas? Just look at the interview I did with David Smith when he was working for Radio Bar Kulan in Kenya. 

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