Monday, May 23, 2005

Radio zimbabwe may close

The voice of freedom for Zimbabwe may close for lack of money...

Nairobi - An award-winning Zimbabwean radio station in exile on Sunday warned it could be forced to close down by the end of this month if pledges of donor funds are not delivered, its manager said.

In April, the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) awarded SW Radio Africa, which broadcasts to Zimbabwe on shortwave from London, the 2005 "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 IPI general assembly in the Kenyan capital.

"If the funds promised by our donors do not arrive before the end of the month, we will be forced to stop our activities," said Gerry Jackson, the founder and manager of radio.

However, it was not clear how much money the exiled station needed in order to continue operating.

Jackson, a Zimbabwean journalist, set up the station in December 2001 after being forced to leave Zimbabwe following the closure of an independent station he set up after being fired from a public radio station.

According to IPI, the radio, which has nine employees in London, "remains a rare independent voice" in Zimbabwe.

The Harare government regularly jammed broadcasts in the months before the March legislative election, and continued after them, according to the press watchdog, which also in its report in March chided the Southern African nation for limiting press freedom.

Hey Hollywood, got a couple extra dimes?

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