Kim's Recent Essays...
US International Broadcasting: Success Requires Independence and Consolidation.
In International Broadcasting, Even the Static Must be Credible.
America Calling China: A Strategy for International Broadcasting.
SW Radio Africa, 20 Feb 2013, Violet Gonda: "Police have announced a ban on ‘specially designed radios’ that are ‘not compatible with state owned stations’, claiming the devices would be used to communicate hate speech ahead of polls scheduled for this year. ... The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) said there is no clarity on what exactly these ‘communications devices’ that were confiscated were, as well as the lack of clarity on what basis the radio sets or their distribution is also deemed illegal. 'A reading of Section 38B of the Broadcasting Services Act states that one is not prohibited from possession of a receiver as long as it is in accordance with the terms and conditions of a listener’s licence as issued by the ZBC.' ... Co-Home Affairs Minister Teresa Makoni revealed, through her Facebook page, that all radios that are receivers only, without ability to transmit, are perfectly legal and that there is no law at present which disallows anyone donating radios to the public. However the minister said she held lengthy discussions with Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, who said he is concerned that NGOs always intensify distribution just before elections."
VOA Studio 7, 20 Feb 2013, Tatenda Gumbo, Loirdham Moyo and Ntungamili Nkomo: "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 Herald (Harare, state controlled), 20 Feb 2013, Freeman Razemba, via AllAfrica.com: "Although police could not give figures yesterday, sources said hundreds of such devices, including specially designed radios, have been confiscated, especially in the rural areas. It is illegal for anyone to possess or operate signal transmission equipment other than in accordance with a licence issued by either the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe or Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe."
ZimEye, 21 Feb 2013: "Mr. Jameson Timba [Minister of State in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party] said the police action does not make sense. 'It is inconceivable that police can purportedly ban radio receivers. The only radios that require licensing before use are two-way radio communicators not receivers. This is paranoia,' he said. He said he would defy the police order and would actually be distributing the radio receivers all the more."
The Times (London), 21 Feb 2013, Jan Raath, via The Australian: "For the past eight years, Morgan Tsvangirai's party and various pro-democracy organisations have been distributing tiny short-wave radios in the country's impoverished rural areas. Mr Mugabe fears that the solar/wind-up radios, manufactured in South Africa, are enabling otherwise unconnected residents to hear broadcasts from overseas, including the BBC and other international stations. Before the radios, the only source of news and comment for rural Zimbabweans was the propaganda of state radio and its praise for Mr Mugabe, who is described as 'the liberator'. The state station is Zimbabwe's only legal one and it reaches less than 30 per cent of the country. The short-wave radios are popular, and informal 'radio clubs' have developed in villages, where people congregate nightly at the home of a neighbour who owns one." -- The radios are probably manufactured in China.
The Zimbabwean, 20 Feb 2013: "Access to information is a fundamental part of freedom of expression which will assist citizens in making informed decisions and choices during the referendum and the forthcoming elections. It is therefore critical that the police in their efforts to maintain law and order, should not unilaterally infringe the public’s right to information, especially as the country heads for the referendum and elections."
It appears that a Zimbabwean prohibition on two-way radios is being used as an excuse to confiscate small shortwave receivers. An irony of this episode is that Zimbabwe uses shortwave for its official domestic and international broadcasting.