By Tatenda Mujeyi
Community radio stations are an imperative civil protection agent in curbing human and natural disasters that ravage societies.
Presenting a paper on the ‘role of Community Radio Stations, CSRs, in Partnership with Zachras and Amnesty International, VOP Director John Masuku, said.
Community Radio Stations are contestedly defined as community derived Broadcasting entities covering a radius not more than eight kilometers.
‘There has been contestations as to the broadcasting threshold of community Radio Stations but the current establishment is 80km radius as we are told” Patience Zirima , the Director of Media Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) said.
CSRs are a central proximal indigenous source of impending disasters that has a continuous relationship with the people compared to the not so accessible international media.
“If they were Community radio stations that translated the looming dangers to the people of Chipinge, Chimanimani, the impacts could have reduced” Masuku said.
Support mobilisation can be enhanced through Community Radio stations as they are close to area of occurrence in turn availing Community generated expectations.
“Imagine the challenges experienced during accessing and distribution of Cyclone Idai relief, had CSRs been involved they would have availed specific information aiding relief engagement.”
Accidents can be reduced were CSRs are involved in terms of availing information and in turn potentially reduce accidents.
“ If CRSs were present in Kadoma and Matopo, during the Kadoma and Cricket mine accidents respectively, damage control could have been in form of information on proper mining standards.” Masuku further said
CSRs are also important in structuring post disaster strategies through continually informing towards continued community enhancement.
“We have already forgotten about Cyclone Idai but the challenges on the ground continue, if CSRs were in Chimanimani they would have a forum to discuss their challenges.
Zimbabwe has over twenty radio stations and government has budgeted for 10 more this year despite challenges of monopoly, steepened registration fees amongst other challenges.