The Delegation of the European Union has joined others in expressing its concerns over the suspension of Prime TV broadcasting License by the Independent Broadcasting Authority for 30 Days.
In a statement, the EU says it is concerned by the suspension of the broadcasting licence of Prime TV by the Independent Broadcasting Authority and joins those seeking urgent reconsideration of this decision.
It said Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are amongst fundamental values that the Zambian Authorities committed to respect under international and regional human rights agreements.
The EU said these are essential to sustaining an inclusive, peaceful and transparent democracy.
It said the partnership between Zambia and the European Union under the Cotonou Agreement includes a joint undertaking to promote and protect these fundamental freedoms.
And Human Rights Commission spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya says 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.
Mr. Muleya said Zambia has a relatively good record of having established a robust liberalized 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.
He said 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.
Mr. Muleya said 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.
He said 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.
He encouraged IBA 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.
Mr. Muleya has since called on 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.