Stop jamming SW Radio Africa

The Union for Sustainable Democracy is dismayed to learn that SW Radio Africa’s Newsreel programme was jammed Wednesday evening, allegedly by members of the Central Intelligence Organization who generally operate under direct instruction from the President’s office.

For those who do not know, SW Radio Africa is a wonderful radio station that broadcasts from London in the United Kingdom. The station is operated by exiled Zimbabwean journalists who – after successfully challenging Mugabe’s broadcasting monopoly in Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court in 2000 – briefly broadcasted from a local hotel under the name Capital Radio.

Mugabe seized yet another opportunity to further erode the rule of law by disregarding the court’s ruling. Within days they were treated as a cabal hostile to the state and subjected to censorship and intimidation. Keen to continue what they knew best, the station’s operators set up their equipment in the United Kingdom and SW Radio Africa was born.

Since then, they have been an invaluable asset to Zimbabweans across the world, especially those here at home whose ears are continually bombarded by ZANU PF’s irritating and incessant jingles.
The fact is there is no reason in law to interfere with the services of SW Radio Africa because they operate within the precepts of the law. As a rule, international law supports the free flow of information and it is only in instances where broadcasts gravitate towards hate speech or gross human rights abuse that radio broadcasts may be curbed – and SW Radio Africa is guilty of neither. We all know who the perpetrators of gross human rights abuses are in Zimbabwe.
Surely, in circumstances where the state monopolises the airwaves, what SW Radio Africa is offering is nothing short of a great service. For that they deserve credit and not condemnation. The government is doing Zimbabweans a great disservice by jamming the SW Radio Africa signal.
ZANU PF’s attempt to invoke state sovereignty as a justification for interfering with the informative programmes of SW Radio Africa is further evidence of just how much Mugabe and those around him hate the truth.
USD calls on the inclusive government to encourage dialogue between SW Radio Africa and JOMIC to determine how radio broadcasters can operate freely in Zimbabwe. That is what the so-called implementation matrix envisages! The MDC as part of that matrix must ensure that it is implemented!
In the meantime, however, life goes on and ZANU PF continues to condemn and reject criticism. Until they behave like human beings, objective criticism such as expressed by SW Radio Africa and other stations must NOT stop. What must be immediately stopped is the jamming of the free flow of information and opinion.
Issued by the Information and Publicity Department
Union for Sustainable Democracy
www.usd.org.zw

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