Eleven (11) Media Heads from private television stations in the country this morning paid a courtesy call on Information and Broadcasting Services Minister and Chief Government Spokesperson Hon. Dora Siliya at her office at the Government Complex in Lusaka.
The Media Heads were from Prime, City, Diamond, Prism Africa, Lumen, Camnet and ABN television stations. Others were from CBC, Revelation, Fresh and Hope Channel Zambia television stations.
Leader of the delegation, Mr. Gerald Shawa, who is proprietor of Prime Television Station said the courtesy call was intended to brief the Hon. Minister on the various issues affecting private television stations across the country.
Mr. Shawa informed the Minister that private television stations were concerned that Top Star, a joint venture company between the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Star Times of China had violated the Digital Migration policy by departing from its core object.
He explained that instead of playing its role of a signal distributor, Topstar had also gone into the business of providing pay television services.
Mr. Shawa said this is contrary to what is stipulated in the Digital Migration Policy.
He also told the Hon. Minister that private television stations wanted to be part of the television levy revenue sharing.
Mr. Shawa said private television stations wondered why revenue from the collection of television levy should only be given to ZNBC when members of the public pay the levy to watch different channels on the Topstar bouquet and not ZNBC channel only.
He also expressed concern over the high carriages fees which Topstar is charging private television stations to be carried on its signal around the country. Topstar is charging one point two million kwacha (K1.2M) per month.
Mr. Shawa said most of the private television stations will not manage to pay the fees and this could lead to the collapse of some stations.
In response, Hon. Siliya said Government has a direct interest in seeing that all media in the country flourish.
Hon. Siliya said she will tomorrow morning hold discussions with the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), ZNBC and Topstar to see how the issues raised could be addressed.
She stated that she would also make consultations with the Attorney General over the matter.