By Daniel Kalembe
WE REMIND US EMBASSY AND EU OF PF GOVERNMENT’S UNPARRALELD RECORD IN PROMOTING A DIVERSE AND PLURALISTIC MEDIA IN ZAMBIA, AS WE QUESTION THEIR SELECTIVE CONCERN OVER ONE PARTICULAR TV STATION
As the youth, we question the US Embassy and local EU delegation’s selective concern over the 30 days suspension of Prime TV Broadcast Licence.
We wonder why they have issues only with the Prime TV suspension. Why haven’t they equally raised dust over the other two revoked licenses for radio stations as they broke the law?
The broadcast Licence for Valley FM of Nyimba was also suspended and Valley FM received a suspension double that of Prime TV – for sixty (60) days as they broke law; so why then should Prime TV be spared when they also broke the law in an even more serious manner than Valley FM?
The Licences for Luanshya based Ngoma radio and Kafue radio received much tougher sanctions as they were completely revoked; why isn’t the US Embassy and EU Delegation fussing about the 60 day suspension of Valley FM and the total revocation of the other two? Why should Prime TV be above the law?
PF GOVERNMENT’S UNPARRALELD RECORD IN PROMOTING A DIVERSE AND PLURALISTIC MEDIA
At the same press conference where the 30 day suspension of Prime TV was announced, the IBA also announced that it had given new broadcast licenses to twenty two (22) radio stations around the country. IBA further announced that nine other radio stations had been allowed to expand their broadcasts beyond their initial coverage areas.
Isn’t this a commendable and productive development for media freedom in Zambia?
It appears Prejudice and blind solidarity has clouded the view of these people. Let them be reminded that since the Patriotic Front formed government in 2011, PF actualised the IBA act of 2002 that had remained a pipe dream under previous regimes; and through the same IBA Act under the PF government IBA has since its operationalisation in July 2013, issued more than sixty (60) radio and thirty five (35) television licences, INCLUDING PRIME TV!
The PF government continues to promote a diverse and pluralistic media through issuance of licences, when frequencies become available, not just for the sake of fostering fair competition, but to also have a diversely informed citizenry and guarantee that all parts of our nation are serviced in terms of broadcasting.
LEGISLATION GOVERNING THE BROADCASTING INDUSTRY IN ZAMBIA
The broadcasting industry in Zambia is governed by The Independent Broadcasting Authority Act.
The Act provides a procedure for appeal to the Minister and the Courts if need be… so one wonders; why is the US Embassy and the EU undermining Zambian laws?
Zambia is a country of laws; not hooliganism or selective justice.
When Prime TV was awarded a Broadcasting Licence in 2013, it came with terms and conditions to operate within the parameters of Set Broadcasting Standards in accordance with the IBA Act.
Sadly, the inflammatory, alarmist and aggression inducing nature of the Prime TV news broadcast of Saturday 9th February was a recipe to ignite and escalate violence between the youth of UPND and PF. Not only was the incendiary broadcast in breach of the IBA Act, but also of Prime TV’s own guidelines. Prime TV is a media house like any other that must follow the law. Freedom comes with responsibility.
Fifty five (55) years after Zambia’s independence, why should the EU Delegation & US Embassy so patronisingly spit on our regulatory laws?
Why should they condescendingly take us as being so primitive and backward that they think their opinions should override the Rule of Law in Zambia? Disregarding the law is promoting anarchy; we wonder is that the intention of the US Embassy and the local EU delegation?
We encourage them to put aside their pre-conceived ideas and take an objective view by first considering the facts of the matter and accordingly familiarise themselves with applicable Zambian Laws.
As youths we are of the conviction that maintaining the rule of law is the first step in maintaining peace and stability in our nation; and as long as it is not in the law, any other avenue is unlawful and illegitimate.
The Author is Patriotic Front Provincial Youth Chairman for Lusaka