THE Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) has said that it is appalled by the police call-out issued to KBN TV, a private TV station in the Republic of Zambia, barely a day after exposing what is alleged to have been a conversation between a State House aide and a Permanent Secretary colluding to kill democracy.
In a statement released to the media by Wilson Pondamali, the ZIIMA Consultant, ZIIMA said that the IBA Act is very clear on complaints handling procedure, and the police call-out is in this case, a clear abuse of state institutions by the government.
Mr Pondamali said that ZIIMA also viewed the police action as an attempt by police to excite their paymaster using wrong dance antics.
Riding on President Hakainde Hichilema’s media freedom pronouncements, ZIIMA called for Zambia police to search their souls and withdraw that form of harassment, adding that the Government must know that there cannot be democracy without a free media, democracy also directs us to uphold the rule of law, and the IBA Act is not an exception.
ZIIMA further shed some light on the IBA complaints handling procedure, in case police were ignorant:
“An aggrieved person shall write to the radio or TV station, highlighting the complaint, and time on which it was broadcast. Upon receipt, the radio or TV station shall respond to the complaint within 14 days. Where the station has not responded within 14 days, or the complainant is not content with the response, the complainant shall write to the IBA”.
“Clearly this has not been done, hence our resolve that this is an act to intimidate the Media, it must be stopped!
“We also call on journalists and media houses across the country to be balanced, objective, verify information that comes their way, and avoid serving interests of politicians as they gather and publish news,” concluded the statement.
Meanwhile, Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba, who was at Police Service Headquarters to offer solidarity to KBN TV, has condemned the remarks made by President Hakainde Hichilema for stating that the “Clique” and “Corrupt” had hijacked the media, adding that such remarks frighten the media who would be forced to choose who to cover.
Mr. Mwamba said that this was a flagrant violation of freedom of expression and freedom of the press and also condemned the summoning of KBN TV Editor. saying the role of the media was to apply news judgment to the material they gather and receive, and air such news after processing.
Mr Mwamba advised the Police to concentrate on the details exposed by the Audio that demonstrate that state institutions were being abused to fight political battles and urged the Police to instead summon State House Special Assistant for Politics, Mr. Levy Ngoma, and Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Josephs Akafumba to answer to those suspected criminal charges.