Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Zimbabwe radio faces likely closure

23/05/2005 09:38 - (SA)
Nairobi - An award-winning Zimbabwean radio station in exile on Sundaywarned it could be forced to close down by the end of this month if pledgesof donor funds are not delivered, its manager said.In April, the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) awarded SWRadio Africa, which broadcasts to Zimbabwe on shortwave from London, the2005 "Free Media Pioneer" prize for being a "voice to the voiceless".The radio will receive the price on Tuesday at the end of the ongoing IPIgeneral assembly in the Kenyan capital."If the funds promised by our donors do not arrive before the end of themonth, we will be forced to stop our activities," said Gerry Jackson, thefounder and manager of radio.However, it was not clear how much money the exiled station needed in orderto continue operating.Jackson, a Zimbabwean journalist, set up the station in December 2001 afterbeing forced to leave Zimbabwe following the closure of an independentstation he set up after being fired from a public radio station.According to IPI, the radio, which has nine employees in London, "remains arare independent voice" in Zimbabwe.The Harare government regularly jammed broadcasts in the months before theMarch legislative election, and continued after them, according to the presswatchdog, which also in its report in March chided the Southern Africannation for limiting press freedom.Previous winners of the prize, created in 1996, include the Russian NTVtelevision station and the Serbian B-92 radio station.http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Zimbabwe/0,,2-11-1662_1709110,00.html

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