ZICTA SIM REGISTRATION AND DEACTIVATION AND THE MEDIA ROLE
LUSAKA, Thursday, January 30, 2014 — A Lusaka phone subscriber has written to the three media boards of Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) also copied the The Post Press Freedom Committee among others on the professional misconduct of the public media in view of the advertisements and biased coverage of Zambia Information, Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA) SIM card registration and threatened deactivation exercise.
In a letter dated 30th January, 2014, before ZICTA deadline of 31st January, 2014, Kasebamashila Kaseba wrote, “I write to make some sort of “housekeeping” appeal or to prick the moral conscience of fellow journalists in view of my letters to the Zambia Information, Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA) (15.11.13) against ZICTA SIM card registration, deactivation, dispossession and reallocation and another letter to Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) (30.12.13) on the professional misconduct of the ZICTA Director General.
“This open letter to fellow journalists is deliberately after the letter to LAZ and is not necessarily a complaint because I am vindicated that it is easier to write to LAZ and get a reply on “professional misconduct” while a press release on the same will be denied public media editorial coverage while carrying ZICTA advertisements.
“In that vein, one cannot raise “editorial or professional misconduct” against public media practitioners whose news definition and judgment is of outsider advertisers as opposed to public interest and professional ethics.
“Apart from public interest, this debate was of law and fact which even at the level of facts failed to attract the mainstream media which further to SIM card licensing went onto another campaign of online media regulation in contradiction of the current position of the hard-fought for self regulation.
“Therefore, the addition of ZICTA breakfast and awards to the aforementioned denial of editorial coverage of subscribers against ZICTA SIM card registration constitutes media cover up and complicity which is actionable both journalistically and legally.
“So, I write to serve notice that the evidence of blackout, coverup, silence and public money changing hands as awards at the height of a petitioned ZICTA SIM card registration campaign will be usable in the legal action against the ZICTA Director General. It is also rather curious that a threat of deactivation of public communication could not interest communicators fighting for enactment of Access To Information bill.
“As we close and review the public and media debates, to open the court process, in view of ZICTA deadline of Friday, 31st January, 2014 for SIM card deactivation, I wish to say and may elaborate later that we may not seek an “injunction” or “judicial review” as the matter is outside the law or SI 65 of 2011. Instead, the “class action” as already mentioned elsewhere may include action against some public media houses that benefited from the ZICTA SIM card registration scare campaign of deactivation and may include “citizen’s arrest.””
Lusaka subscriber and journalist