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Zimbabwe exile shortwave station wants more information about license denial

The owner of a shortwave radio station that broadcasts to Zimbabwe via the Netherlands is pressing for more information about that country’s denial of its license application. Vox Media wants a record of the proceedings leading to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s decision to authorize other stations, but not Vox’s Radio Voice of the People signal. The winning licenses have ties to the Zanu PF party of Robert Mugabe.

“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is refusing to provide us with details of the complete recordings and yet for the court to make a decision they must have complete record of proceedings,” explained Vox’s Tafadzwa Mugabe, referring to Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, to which Vox has taken its case. A lower administrative court rebuffed Vox’s petition on technical grounds. The company needs the BAZ records to further challenge the decision.

This is a case in which several independent radio stations have charged that Zimbabwe’s government is issuing licenses with links to Zanu.

“Having survived severe bombing of offices, arrests of trustees and staff members, followed by an extended court case, Radio VOP has shown its total commitment towards supporting the opening up of the airwaves in Zimbabwe by applying for an FM radio licence in 2005, 2011 and 2012 as VoxMedia Productions Private Limited,” Radio VOP’s about page notes.

When last we followed this story, the other station, KISS-FM, announced that it was giving up on a license.

“The media landscape, globally, has drastically changed, particularly with the migration of airwaves from the analogue to the digital platform,” a KISS-FM spokesperson told newspapers on February 2.

The KISS announcement came as the government said it was considering a move to ban foreign newspapers, including The Zimbabwean, run by exiles in the United Kingdom. But a representative of KISS showed up at a government hearing on the controversy on Thursday. Vox did not, contending that an appearance would prejudice its case.

The Voice of America quotes Mugabe insisting that the Vox license denial was justified. Why not just release the records so that the public can decide for itself?

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