Police officers seal off Komboni Radio premises last night
Police officers seal off Komboni Radio premises last night

We are disappointed with the decision of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to suspend licenses for Muvi TV, Komboni and Itezhi Tezhi Radio citing professional misconduct and threats to national security.

It is our view that the said suspension of licenses for the three stations is extreme and has a negative effect on the flow of information as well as a chilling effect on the practice of journalism as it amounts to arbitrary censorship of dissenting views.

It is worrying that there seems to be a trend in which private media houses seen to carry dissenting views have been targeted and persecuted using various laws and processes as was the case with the closure of the Post Newspaper and now with Muvi TV, Komboni Radio and Radio Itezhi Tezhi.

It is further worrying that no concrete dialogue was attempted by the IBA to persuade the stations to comply as provided in section 29 (7) of the 2010 IBA amendment act in relation to the sections invoked by the authority which provide for due process and warning prior to suspension or cancellation.

The IBA’s decision to wait till the elapsing of the pre, during and post-election period to crack the whip for violations they claim could pose a threat to national security raises suspicions as it leaves the authority’s conduct open to speculation given the current political events.

We strongly condemn the heavy presence of armed riot Police at Muvi TV who have since sealed off the entire building, denied access to management and staff and further arrested and charged some members of staff with criminal trespass.

A similar situation is currently obtaining at the other two stations according to the latest reports we have received.

A team comprising MISA Zambia and Media liaison committee officials has since met with IBA Board Chairperson, Brigadier General Justin Mutale, Director-General Josephine Mapoma and management of the authority and demanded the following:

I. That IBA immediately lifts the suspension of the licenses for the three stations to allow them operate pending the hearing to demonstrate the institution’s independence and autonomy, a demand which the IBA has taken into consideration.

II. That the date for the hearing be brought forward to allow for a speedy and amicable resolution of the matter without necessarily denying the citizens access to information and dissemination of alternative views.

It has been agreed that the IBA engages the Inspector-General of Police to immediately withdraw the Police officers that have besieged the stations thereby restricting access and disrupting operations while the demands are to be effected as a show of the authority’s independence.

We appeal to Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja to desist from being used for the achievement of political aims as shown by the overzealous action of Police officers at Muvi TV, Komboni Radio and Itezhi Tezhi Radio which leaves much to be desired.

MISA has alerted regional and international agencies and the diplomatic corps over the deterioration of media freedom in Zambia while engaging the three affected stations to offer assistance in order for the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible.

The Inspector-General of Police should know that the stations are not crime scenes or riot fronts where he should unleash such a battalion of riot Police to instil fear in the media personnel at the said stations. We demand that Mr. Kanganja immediately withdraws his troops from the media houses and unconditionally release the workers that have been detained for no reason.

We call on all media houses and practitioners to stand united and defend the freedom of the media against the oppression observed. Today it may be the Post Newspaper, Muvi TV, Komboni Radio or Itezhi Tezhi radio but it is only a matter of time before the axe lands on another media house.

We also encourage media houses to exercise maximum professionalism and remain steadfast in safeguarding the public interest.

Enock Ngoma
Chairperson
Media Liaison Committee

Hellen Mwale
Chairperson,
MISA Zambia

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Police must just panel beat these upnd reporters good and teach them a lesson. Smash all their equipment too!

    Then they will all be too intimidated and afraid to say anything bad about the PF and our wonderful president Lungu.

    Job well done!

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    • Only a fool can close up an independent state media like Muvi TV which employs thousands of Zambians for brown envelopes and political selfishness.
      Its not the unleashed dogs destroying the economy and democracy of the country, but its the corrupt criminals who have regards for the Constitution, rule of law and freedom of expression.
      Destruction is development for many blind people following the buffoonery visionless Edgar.

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    • For now people are looking at UPND supporter or perceived supporters. Next it will people of a region, thereafter, we shall be talking about full dictatorship in our land. Independent Regulatory Bodies (IRBs) are their to promote ethical conduct through training or building capacity in the institutions they regulate in order for the to operate professionally. It is only after the institution/s fail to transform then the regulator enforces the law through a court of law. What is exercised in Zambia of a regulator being the jury and judge is draconian in nature. IBA, which is an IBR, should serve the registered institutions with a warning. Now a number of one party feel this is all fine, wait until the table turn, then the heart will be on them. That is why we should all fight for a just…

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    • society for all, that is what units societies beyond political lines or which part of the country the sir name belongs to. Currently a lot of our people are thinking with their sir names.

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    • MISA is a useless organization….when its members are erring, it’s does not stand up to put its members in line. But when its members get what is expected then it raises its dununa…Is this what you call press freedom? Mind you, one’s freedom ends where someone else’s freedom begins…And inciting violence by broadcasting falsehood is not press freedom

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  2. My worry and concern is that, MISA and other Organisations only resurface when an action is taken against media organisations. Does it mean you enjoy or encourage insults and unethical reporting these Media houses are exhibiting? I thought it is your Role to engage these media house and advise them to be professional in their reporting other than twisting stories and becoming political tools for some political parties. The way you are trying to advice the police not to be used by Politicians, should be the same given to the Media houses before action is taken upon them. Freedom comes with responsibility but now its like some of you think that, what happened in Luanda was just a Movies Action and not real, but wait until the so called freedom of expression which you are referring to…

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  3. Earlier this month LUNGU said “I’M READY TO SACRIFICE DEMOCRACY FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE”.

    By “Peace” he meant his personal peace. anyone who disturbs his personal peace will be closed down, arrested or even eliminated. He even refuses to step down according to the constitution he signed in front of thousands of useful 1DIOTS at HEROES STADIUM. This in itself is a treasonable offence.

    Now Zambians are reaping the fruits of a wanna-be Tin-pot Dictator who has no regard for the law. The gains of democracy we have achieved over a period of 25 years have been stolen overnight.

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  4. Most Zambian don’t think el’s dictatorial traits are a serious concern. It’s a pity Zambian seldom find themselves holding a book to read. All dictators started like him. Before you know it he is killing your closest relative. At this point there is nothing you can do about it and his rage would have taken him to heights you can not redeem the man. If you frilly.love ecl show him his mistakes.

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  5. The bells tolling for these media houses will soon be tolling for all of us……lelo chilipamuzako maba chapita chili paliwewo.

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  6. What is the role of the so called MISA? What I have observed is that they are just interested in defending media houses not the country at large. Am scared with our freedom of expression we have taken it too far. There must be a limit and also responsibility in our actions. And there way we are taking our freedom we will put our country on fire because there is no country with out rules and laws everything is freedom , killing some one is freedom , insulting each other is freedom ………………………………..

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    • You just have to look at @Marie-Anne above and the bile that comes from it (sorry, not sure if it’s her or him) on a daily basis to conclude that self regulation is almost impossible for some. Maybe it requires laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)…

      (Journalists and their ‘superior’ freedoms)

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  7. @ Marie-Anne, have ready the constitution yourself? or you are using your ignorance that the President has refused to step down by not following the cont. which he signed? the same cont. which he signed supports him not to. so just wait and see if the concourt will rule against it. Mind you ECL is a lawyer who knows what he is doing even though some of yr concourt judges are biased it wont help them. and you, UPND cadres you should Anallise some of these postings it is not every thing which is against HH.

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  8. Foolish *****s there is a limit to everything even in democracy. Close them up and also beat them up

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  9. You can’t have a country where each person can say whatever he or she wants in the name of democracy. Take that democracy to your kids and let’s see how that house will turn out to be. Insults,beating up of people who don’t vote for you and burning of houses is what you mean democracy. I tell you democracy came too early in Zambia . We needed to introduce it as a subject before becoming democratic. Someone just finishes his grade 12 and straight from school he joins a radio station and you call that person a journalist. And everything she or he says is based on his opinion. Ain’t we putting our country at risk. Come people too freedom is bad for everyone. Look at the freedom UPND has, it’s not good for a country.

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