File:President Edgah Lungu with Florence Chiwesha Humans Rights Commission Director t at Commemoration of United Nations International Humans Rights Day at Government Complex in Lusaka , Picture by EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATEHOUSE.10-12-2015

The Human Rights Commission has recommended that the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) should reconsider it’s decision to suspend the broadcasting license of Prime TV and allow it to operate while addressing the identified shortcomings.The Commission advised that freedom of expression and media freedom are common parameters of assessing a country’s human rights and good governance record. Therefore the Commission stated that it is in the national interest that the government must look at a broader governance picture in resolving this matter.

Below is the Full Press release
After engaging various stakeholders, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) strongly recommends that the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) should consider lifting the suspension of the broadcasting license for Prime Television Station.

The suspension of the broadcasting license of Prime TV for 30 days is excessive punishment that is likely to seriously undermine the growth of the Privately-owned Television Station as well as deprive millions of its viewers of their democratic right to access divergent information and views as required in a democratic state.

Zambia has a relatively good record of having established a robust liberalised media industry in the quest to promote free expression of, and access to divergent views, information and opinions as a matter of human rights and good governance.

It would be extremely unfortunate if such a record of human rights and good governance was undermined by a decision such as suspending the broadcasting license of the Privately-run Television Station when the matter could easily have been amicably resolved in better way.

The Commission is therefore confident that the Government will listen to numerous voices pleading for its public interest intervention and will accordingly review the decision made by IBA.

As a National Human Rights Institution, the Commission wishes to advise that freedom of expression and media freedom are common parameters of assessing a country’s human rights and good governance record. It is, therefore, in the national interest that the government must look at a broader governance picture in resolving this matter.

The consequences of a country being viewed as a human rights violator, whether true or not, has far-reaching negative impact on the socio-economic development of the country and on the general welfare of the citizens at large. Therefore, the common good must override any sectional interests in resolving the complaints against Prime TV.

While appreciating IBA’s mandate of safeguarding the rights, freedoms and reputation of others from unprofessional broadcasting, it is the Commission’s strong view that IBA should continue executing its legislative mandate in a manner consistent with the fundamental human rights principles of non-discrimination and equal protection and benefit of the law.

To this effect, IBA is encouraged to be seen to be building the capacity of all broadcasting institutions in Zambia in order to contribute to a professional, pluralistic and diverse broadcasting industry as a hallmark of deepening democracy, respect for human rights and good governance.

Finally, the Commission wishes to call upon all stakeholders, particularly human rights defenders and the media fraternity, to effectively claim their right to a robust pluralistic and diverse media industry in Zambia that will fearlessly but factually and fairly mirror the diverse socio-economic, cultural and political heritage of the country for sustainable inclusive development.

Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Davis Mwila the complainant is the Secretary General of the PF ,who controls the PF Information Minister Dora Siliya who appoints the IBA board members.
    THE IBA CANT BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS IT.
    WELCOME TO ZAMBIA THE BANANA REPUBLIC”

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    • HUMAN RIGHTS CAN BE CANCELED IF THE SUBJECT ENTERS A SELF DESTRUCTION MODE OR WHEN THE SUBJECT CAUSES SERIOUS INTENT TO DESTRUCT OTHERS. STIPULATES OF THE LAW.
      Human rights my foot. Can you all human rights chaps go to prisons and learn to preach human rights there.
      The consequence of abrogating the law is some form of punishment. When a judge passes judgment, usually there are set time frames for incarceration because the law stipulates. Like we know before hand the time a defiler gotta serve in state pernitentiary. Reform IBA Act to set min or max time ailing broadcasters gotta serve for their transgression of the Law – so called shortcomings. When applicants apply for licenses, they act flawless and holy. The public should not arm twist IBA. The authority is Authority otherwise sue…

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    • Zambia’s Systems of the high people can’t provide good governance. Civility is far from them for them to understand Human Rights. When they here Human Rights they respond: Ku ba tumpika uko! Mufundeni lesson!

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    • The opposition in Zambia are very weak at fighting for freedom of expression. I think its because they would all like to enjoy the same power if they go into office. Only the Human Rights Commission has spoken the way any citizen of a democracy must speak about freedom of expression. Even the bloggers here dont fight for freedom of expression. Its time we all learnt that freedom of expression is the oxygen of democracy.

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    • It’s Mwelwa, not Mweelwa, trying to look “advanced” . Even ku Human Rights you take ubupuba like ZNBC.
      “News read by Doora Siliya”.

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  2. There’s nothing independent about the IBA ,its a tool of serving GRZ favouritism and biases. Just try to defame Lungu on social media and see what happens.

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    • PRIME TV is not the only alternative source of so called divergent news. Do you love them for their UPNDEAD backed aka sponsored rhetoric?
      Why do you think the so called other forms of punishment are the only viable mode of punishment? IBA must assert their firmness by not being swayed from adjudicating these cases to the best knowledge of their mandate. Give IBA a break because they are serving your sanity. If they wait until the situation deteriorates, you will be the first to condemn them. Human rights activists in Zambian failed to categorically condemn the UPNDEAD Xenophobic onslaught of innocent citizens in SP perpetrated by Muvi TV in 2016.

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  3. Mr Muleya can also be said that he’s highly compromised because why is he not also talking of the other radio station which has been suspended for two months…Reason is HH controls Prime TV that’s why all who are into group think mentality are not analysing the reasons given by IBA.

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  4. Human rights commission my foot . This is one of the disfuntional institution. We have prisons and alot of inmates still failing to access proper legal aid, what has the so called HRC done? WE have cases of child abuse, human trafficking and what has HRC done?

    We will never progress with self righteousness institutions which only look at one side of the coin and leave the other. I recommend IBAs action but my hope is prime tv must relook at their policy and assess themselves. Most the Prime TV jounalists are cadres especially the ones who complicated their jounalism in 2013 from Eveyn Hone College. They have friends in one of the opposition political party and have been championing the partys agenda since college times.

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    • @Advocate, act you age, you seem to be confused with confusion, when you are sober go through your comment. Otherwise let objectivety prival And keep emotions under the pilo.

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  5. Amnesty International and Human Rights Commission would have us all murdered in our beds if they had their version of freedom in their pink fluffy land imposed on us. These chaps will even support preachers of hate and extremism. Makes you wonder if they have objectively read the IBA’s reasons for suspending Prime TV’s licence. And why are they not commenting the the other media outlets who have had more severe punishments meted out on them?

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    • The reason why Prime TV case has received alot of coverage is because players involved in this saga are political figures-Davies Mwila Secretary General of PF and HH – UPND President behind the scenes. It is a politically charged scenario hence the large interest it has generated.If you read the HRC release without bias, it has raised alot of important observations. The larger question we should ask ourselves is should we be looked at as a totalitarian govt to the outside world for the sake of killing a fly?
      There are better ways to deal with purported offenders without raising the out cry of the international community.

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    • @Mwakale.
      Have you read Prime TV’s Shawa’s appeal? He blatantly accepts that they were at fault, but feels the suspension is harsh and has economic implication for them. Clearly they were hoping to get away with a slap on the wrist as before.

      When the UK, were I suppose you are based, blocks extremist sites and those peddling hate are they viewed as totalitarian? And does the international community poke their nose into their business?

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    • How was prime tv peddling hate ? Is reporting PF violence and corruption hate and totalitarian ???

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  6. Unfortunately, there’s a misconception in the rank and file of the UPND that obstruction of elected leadership is democracy, how else can you describe Hichilema’s behaviour in Kalabo and recently Sesheke? Even to the extent of manufacturing lies about his assassination? Journalists now no longer report stories but collaborate with Hichilema in the manufacture of lies. No one in their right mind would scheme to block the Presidential Motorcade, even if the President were a from. UPND and Hichilema must grow up

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    • Prime tv threatened Davis Mwila with releasing the unedited version of the violence in Sesheke ?

      Why did the PF GRZ fear this release and call it a ‘ threat to peace and stability ‘ ??

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  7. Prove tv had raw footage of PF and police attacking the UPND in Sesheke, they threatened to release this version and this is what PF called
    “ danger to cause civil unrest ‘

    Because of this footage of the attack was filmed from among the UPND crowd, the PF thugs accused prime tv of impersonating UPND or being UPND.

    That is why they have shut prime tv

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    • Those are the facts , which apparently overlap with my assertions that Lungu and PF are anti democratic violent corrupt thugs

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  8. When this backfires some id.iot from PF will blame HH for selling out the country and yet they are the ones shooting in their foot.

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  9. What does Jono meno meno know about and PFoools know about freedom of expression… Ba pompwe imwe

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  10. When you are a private company you, GRZ can not dictate to the businessman what products he must sell or from which supplier he must buy his product from, that solely should be the decision of the owner. Media are business entity whose reporting must be respected by GRZ. You can not force a private media institution to promote policies they do not believe in. In USA, UK and other countries it is the same, there are liberal and conservative leaning media they tend to promote policies agendas opposite to one another. In USA CNN is a liberal media, the promote policies like gay marriages, abortion rights, which hated by conservative media like fox news and would not allow political any party promoting such on their cable Network. These rights of preference are protected by the government and…

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  11. Ba HH nabo awe twanaka! You cant impose yourself on people who dont approve you no matter what period. Zambia is safer and happier in.the hands of President Lungu and the PF than some creature whose sole purpose is to be in State House, this will NOT happen.

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    • Who is imposing them selves on Zambians by using PF thugs from bus stops to harrasse voters ?

      Who is imposing them selves on Zambians by using the police to ban opposition meetings and rallies ??

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  12. Ba IBA mwamona, don’t listen to politicians. You can fool docile Zambians but not the world, they know and can spot abusers of human rights. They know you want to oppress people who oppose you, which is not a good thing especially if you live off hand offs. They surely don’t want their money used to oppress others this also confirms what HH has been saying about Lungu’s government, very oppressive and the evidence is there for all to see. Now IBA will be forced to open prime seeing how much of a firestorm they have caused

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  13. A certain Journalist/ Blogger from Brazil complained on Aljazeera saying:”They say there is freedom of expression but there is no freedom after expression. “..lol He should have asked Julian Assange and how the Father of World Democracy is after his head and still languishing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the most ‘civilised’ England. I rest my case.

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  14. Human rights only exist when there is peace. The Human Rights Commission will not be anywhere near us when UPND genocide begins, not even Mweelwa Muleya their
    Spokesperson

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  15. Even freedom of speech is relative. One cannot go about advocating violence in the name of free expression.

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Comments are closed.