Charamba Says Pirate Radio Stations Are Illegal

Harare, – Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba said on Wednesday that pirate radio stations beaming into Zimbabwe from outside the country were illegal.\r\n

Charamba who was quoted by the state-owned Herald, said:”Just because they have telescopic technology does not legalise it. That technology compounds its illegality and the whole facility is illegal.”

There are three pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe. The Voice of America operates the Studio 7 that broadcasts from Washington DC daily, the Voice of the People (VOP) and Short Wave Radio Africa (SW Radio).

According to the Newspaper, Charamba was reacting to recent reports by the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray who said pirate radio stations beaming into the country were legal.

He claimed the pirate radio stations were legal because they operated from outside Zimbabwe under the host countries’ laws.

The newspaper said this was however, in contrast with Article XIX of the GPA on Freedom of Expression and Communication, which raises concern on “foreign government funded external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe”, which are against national interests.

The GPA also calls on the governments hosting and funding external radio stations to “cease” the funding and hosting.
The paper added that negotiators from Zanu (PF) and the MDC formations have also identified the pirate stations as something that needs to be dealt in the roadmap to elections in Zimbabwe.

“The ambassador knows that the two countries are meeting and he is trying to spoil the meeting, (and) trying to ratchet problems between the two countries,” Charamba was quoted as saying.

Charamba said the US had for the first time confirmed where the facilities were based.

“This matter was formally presented to Sadc (Southern African Development Community) and the Tswana government stoutly refused (but) America has confirmed this.
“America can no longer pontificate about outstanding issues when they are part of them,” he was further quoted.