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Zi-FM Stereo under fire for ‘girl child abuse’

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  • "So why do you release the photos without them being closed on their faces? And why are you protecting boys faces and leaving out girls?" Mashayamombe, who is the Executive Director of girl child organisation Tag a Life International (TaLi), queried.

By Mutsa Makuvaza

THE country’s biggest private radio station, Zi-FM Stereo has come under the crosshairs of girl child activists after it shared photos of school children in compromising positions, although the photos have already been in the public domain.

During its Breakfast Show Wednesday, the Newlands-based radio station which has readership across the entire country blacked out photos of the students but left exposed especially those of the female students.

In sharing the photos, the radio station hoped to ignite debate on whether the recently published images of school children engaging in what looked like sex orgies was a reflection of parenting gone wrong or child misdemeanours.

Zimbabweans say that what made the issue of “girl child abuse” even more heated is that the Breakfast Show is hosted by vetetan broadcasters: Tonderai Katsande who was recently promoted to Station Manager at Zi-FM, and another veteran broadcaster Marc Poz.

Nyaradzo Mashayamombe, a prominent girl child and women’s rights activist and media entrepreneur, took great offence at the fact that the radio station seemed insensitive to the girl child.

“So why do you release the photos without them being closed on their faces? And why are you protecting boys faces and leaving out girls?” Mashayamombe, who is the Executive Director of girl child organisation Tag a Life International (TaLi), queried.

“We expect maturity from you guys and you can’t be sharing children’s faces in compromised positions without closing their faces. You are a corporate and you must lead by example.

“Please remove these pictures and protect the children’s faces, you can’t perpetuate children’s vulnerabilities,” she fumed.

The images shared included those of students at Jameson High, a government school in Kadoma, among others.

Another listener of the radio station said the topic could still be discussed without sharing the images, adding that the behaviour of the radio station was “nonsensical”.

“Please stop this nonsense. These are children. Why keep circulating these photos. Chii chonakidza ipapo (What’s funny about the images? Can we not have the conversations without circulating,” said the listener.

The image collage shared by ZiFM Stereo has led to accusations the organisation was being unfair and abusive to the girl child in particular. (Zimbabwe Voice has covered the exposed faces with it’s logo.)

Another unimpressed Zimbabwean wrote: “By posting them pictures you’re basically contradicting what trying to point out …delete the post now and save yourself some dignity😡.”

Other comments were: “This is the height of irresponsibility a whole radio station posting these pictures kuti zvidiii shuwa. Why can’t you engage in a debate or conversation without sharing the pictures?Takaona kare aye bvisai zvenyu.”

“No ZiFM Stereo NOOOO you can’t distribute these any further, especially you. Not acceptable not tolerable. We still must engage in this conversation without resharing and reposting these pictures.

“As we speak these kids are going through several forms of trauma and shame and we must help them heal. STOP SHARING THESE PICTURES mhani!”

Others blamed the entertainment industry and the radio station in particular for making a bad situation worse by sharing the images on its widely followed platforms.

“Entertainment industry is greatly to blame and there is little that can be done. You can stop the spread of such material. However the actual activities will continue with or without cameras rolling. The social impacts and repercussions of such behaviour would be an interesting conversation,” said an observer.

Zi-FM Stereo is owned by AB Communications who also own Gweru-based. Midlands 98.4 as well as the Masvingo-based Hevoi FM radio stations. The media conglomerate also published the Business Times newspaper.

Zimbabwe Voice

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