The opposition UPND has threatened to take legal action against ZNBC for allegedly denying it chance to place political adverts.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma has disclosed in a statement to the media that ZNBC has rejected two of his party’s paid for TV campaign adverts which were to start airing on Monday next week.
Mr. Kakoma said that his party thinks that such censorship is unwarranted and undermines key principles of democracy and freedoms of Zambians, stating that that what ZNBC has done is in fact a clear abrogation of the electoral code of conduct.
Mr. Kakoma said that the UPND is thus consulting with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and will take legal action if necessary to ensure that its adverts are aired by ZNBC.
Below is the full statement
ZNBC Rejection of UPND TV Ads
ZNBC have rejected two of our paid campaign television advertisements that were to start airing on Monday 16th May, which is the official date for the beginning of campaigns.
This is clearly against the electoral code of conduct and exactly the sort of reason why Zambians wanted cabinet to be dissolved to stop politicians interfering with the operations at these public media institutions and other government agencies in order to advantage themselves in the upcoming elections.
It is not the first time the public broadcaster have done such a thing to the UPND, as they did the same last year when they rejected a paid for non-political advert of UPND President Hakainde Hichilema wishing Zambians a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.
This censorship is unwarranted and undermines key principles of our democracy and our freedoms as Zambians.
So far we have not had any fair coverage on ZNBC and other public media houses funded by taxpayers’ money, and our space for freedoms of assembly, association, and expression has been heavily limited throughout the year.
On the other hand, our competitors in the PF Government have had a free ride on ZNBC making all sorts of accusations, spreading hate speech and derogatory language against us without giving us right to reply.
With denial of our paid for content on ZNBC, it’s clear they will not cover our campaign programmes except on rare occasions.
We have run campaigns under many regimes since the formation of the UPND, and it’s the first time we are ever experiencing such repressive and heavy-handed behaviour that only further highlights the need for Zambians to liberate themselves in August.
We are consulting the Electoral Commission of Zambia and will take legal action if necessary to ensure that our adverts are aired by ZNBC, which claims to be a public broadcaster and is funded by the taxpayer.
UPND Party Spokesperson