Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya has thanked the Chinese Government for its continued support towards the development of the country’s television broadcasting sector.
Ms. Siliya said China has continued to play a significant role in the implementation of many projects in Zambia among them digital migration, which has accorded the chance to view several local and international channels on one moderately priced decoder.
Speaking when Startimes Group President, Pang Xinxing paid a courtesy call on her at her office, Ms. Siliya said in realising Government’s vision of providing universal access to television and information, Zambia is grateful to China for the Village Television project which has targeted the most rural parts of the country.
“I’m convinced that this facility will help to build dreams in the minds of young people who would want to be doctors, police officers and teachers they see on television. The Village Television project which is targeted at rural areas is poised to change the lives of so many young people who now have an opportunity to view life differently,” she said.
She said her Ministry will ensure that the village television programme is rolled out to all parts of the country.
And Ms. Siliya further commanded Mr. Pang for meeting some local content producers during his visit to Zambia to share knowledge on how best television content can be improved.
She noted that the intention by Startimes to set up production and translation facilities for content in Zambia will go a long way in promoting the production of quality programmes in languages best understood by various communities across the country.
The Minister said Government will be happy if Startimes considered Zambia for the film academy the company intends to establish in Africa owing to her central location.
“I am aware that Startimes is in Africa and it will be good if you considered the establishment of a film academy in Zambia here in Africa. This is important for the growth of our film industry because you need a cadre of skilled personnel in various aspects of film production,” she said.
Ms. Siliya also directed officials in the Ministry to quickly workout ways through which Zambia can benefit from the 50,000 scholarships in the television broadcasting sector pledged by China at the recent Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting held in Beijing and attended by President Edgar Lungu.
In response, Mr. Pang, who is also Topstar Board Chairman, said it is his company’s desire to contribute to the development of Zambia’s television and film industry.
Mr. Pang said his company will leverage its resources and technology to support the growth of the sector both private and public.
He said Startimes is willing to work with private television stations in areas of training and technology transfer.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pang also held a closed door meeting with owners of private television stations on the TopStar platform.
He is in the country to inspect progress in the implementation of the digital migration project being undertaken by his company.
Topstar is Zambia’s public signal distributor co-owned by Startimes and ZNBC.
This is according to a statement issued by the Press and Public Relations Unit of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.