Wednesday, September 25, 2013

(TALKZIMBABWE) SW Radio a ‘hostile institution’ and a ‘danger to media industry’: Supa Mandiwanzira
This article was written by Our reporter on 2 September, at 05 : 02 AM

SW RADIO, a pirate radio station illegally broadcasting in Zimbabwe and domiciled in the United Kingdom, has withdrawn its membership from the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) in protest against the council’s decision to congratulate Zi-FM Stereo Radio on its first anniversary.

Zi-FM Stereo has been broadcasting in Zimbabwe for one year now. Zi-FM’s chief executive is the newly-elected Zanu-PF Nyanga South MP Supa Mandiwanzira.

Mandiwanzira has said previously that Zi-FM is an apolitical business organisation and does not represent his own political views. He also said the news broadcast on the station is neutral and does not favour any political organisation in the country.

In a statement, SW Radio director Gerry Jackson said: “As station manager, I have listened online to many of the discussions hosted by Mandiwanzira on his radio station. Most of them are fit only for broadcast on the State media. His discussion on private radio stations was nothing short of farcical.”

This is despite the fact that Jackson’s broadcasts on SW Radio are one-sided and very critical of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

A source that used to work with Jackson on the station told the Zimbabwe Guardian, “Gerry Jackson runs that organisation like a political organisation, so this statement is misguided.”

The source added: “We were not allowed to use the title President in referring to President Mugabe because Gerry Jackson said she didn’t recognise him as such.

“There is a lot of secrecy in that organisation, including the source and amount of funding the organisation gets. When I worked there, we were all paid from Gerry Jackson’s own personal bank account and not the company’s.

“Former broadcaster John Matinde, who was Gerry Jackson’s former boss at ZBC, clashed with her when they worked together at SW Radio over many issues, including the exact source and amount of funding the organisation was receiving.”

Gerr jackson was critical of Mandiwanzira’s recent parliamentary election win and made some unfounded allegations about Mandiwanzira’s links with the state security agency.

“He is now a Zanu PF MP and has shown his support for Zanu PF, which was the reason he was given a licence. There is a belief that Zi-FM is funded by State security,” she said.

Jackson also accused Mandiwanzira of working in cahoots with State security agents in several sting operations involving the Central Intelligence Organisation, but failed to substantiate her claims.

However, VMCZ board chairperson Alec Muchadehama defended the organisation’s decision saying the VMCZ works with all media that subscribe to its code regardless of whether they are State or privately-controlled.

“The VMCZ in its congratulatory statement made no reference to personalities, but the institution that is Zi FM on the basis of its subscription to the VMCZ Media Code of Conduct,” said Muchadehama in a statement on Wednesday.

Contacted for comment, Mandiwanzira said: “The withdrawal is irrelevant. They voluntarily joined the VMCZ and they voluntarily withdrew. If it is true (what we are hearing), we think that they are a danger to the media industry.

“In fact, it’s a pirate radio station that should never exist and those funding them should know they are funding a hostile institution.”

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