The suspension of broadcasting licences of Muvi TV, Komboni radio, ITT radio has continued to draw criticism towards the Independent Broadcasting Authority.
PAZA on Tuesday, described the suspension as premature, illegal and a breach of the IBA Act as the three media house were not given chance to be heard before shutting them down.
Andrew Sakala who is PAZA President explained that under the IBA act of 2010, it is mandatory for the board to give a broadcasting station an opportunity to defend itself before a licence can be suspended or cancelled.
He said the act used to suspend the licences gives powers to the board to suspended the stations but that the same act demands that the affected parties be given an opportunity to be heard before such an action is taken.
“The suspension of the broadcasting licences of the three broadcasting stations is premature and illegal because the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) board breached the act by not giving the three stations an opportunity to defend themselves.
“The licences for the three stations were purportedly suspended under section 29 (1) (J) which gives the IBA authority to suspend a licence in the interest of public safety, security peace, welfare or good order. But under the same section 29 (7) , the Act is explicit and demands that before a licence is suspended or cancelled, a licensee must be given an opportunity to be heard. To be specific section 29(7) reads : ” the board shall, before cancelling or suspending a broadcasting licence under this section, give the broadcasting licensee an opportunity to be heard.” Our inquiries have revealed that none of the three stations were given an opportunity to be heard by the IBA board which renders the board’s action null and void,” he said.
Mr Sakala has since demanded that the board rescinds it’s decision and ensure that they follow the law to the letter.
“PAZA therefore demands that the IBA board should rescind it’s decision and follow the law before any action can be taken. It must be noted that section 29(7) was included in the act to ensure that freedom of the media and freedom of expression are not easily violated by way of arbitrary suspension or cancellation of broadcasting licences.
“The IBA board must therefore give the three broadcasting stations an opportunity to state their case before any action can be taken against them. We urge the IBA board to follow the law to the letter and exercise it’s powers as a regulatory board in a cautious and judicious manner.,” he said.