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New media, pirate radio and the creative appropriation of technology in Zimbabwe: case of Radio Voice of the People

Type of Resource:
Journal Article

Year of Publication:

- Enablers

- Internet for Democracy
- Internet Or Digital Rights and Freedoms

Author(s): Admire Mare

This article examines the creative appropriation of new media technologies by the producers of a pirate radio station (Radio Voice of the People) beaming into Zimbabwe from South Africa. In particular the article explores the news production process and the ways in which new technologies have transformed audience reception practices. Radio VOP has deployed multiple alternative transmission strategies that have rendered Zanu PF's claims to communication sovereignty obsolete. This article argues that radio as a medium of communication has adapted and appropriated digital technologies to extend its reach while opening up novel platforms of audience participation. The survival of the pirate radio since 2002 (even after its Harare studio was bombed) demonstrates its tenacity and resilience in the face of brutal repression. There are, however, limitations to the reach of pirate radio, and this article shows that its interactive website promotes elite participation because of the digital divide pervading developing countries.


Region of Study:
South Africa,

Country of Study:

Study Quality