The Media Liaison Committee (MLC) has issued a press statement congratulating Mr. Berry Lwando on his appointment as the new Director General at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). The MLC, which advocates for media professionals to head media institutions and boards, believes that Mr. Lwando fits the description perfectly.
“We are pleased to hear about Mr. Lwando’s appointment as the new Director General at ZNBC,” said Enock Ngoma, the Media Liaison Committee (MLC) chairperson. “Mr. Lwando is a seasoned professional in the media industry, having previously worked at ZNBC as a Director, and comes with vast experience in the broadcast industry, including being a trainer. We believe he is the right person for the job.”
The MLC also recognizes the challenges that the media in Zambia is facing, particularly in terms of providing appropriate and useful content while sustaining their operations and paying lucrative salaries to their journalists. ZNBC, in particular, faces historical and politically created challenges, which have led to the broadcaster being dependent on government coffers to the extent that every year they fail to undertake specified duties of the national broadcaster as tabulated in the ZNBC Act because of not being adequately funded.
“We hope that the Board will provide support and leeway for Mr. Lwando to find professional ways of solving the problems and challenges at ZNBC,” Ngoma continued. “We need to see a national broadcaster that is truly independent and providing space for Zambians or persons of divergent or critical nature to those of ruling party politicians in government.”
According to the ZNBC Act section 7 (1) (a), ZNBC is commanded to carry on broadcasting services for the information, education, and entertainment of Zambians, and this includes coverage of politically, religiously, or culturally insensitive materials for the information and education of Zambians.
However, the MLC is concerned that the ZNBC Board was involved in the appointment of management positions that should be a preserve of the Director General. Appointments to positions such as that of Directors of Programmes, Human Resources and Administration, and that of Finance were made by the Board.
“These are management positions that report exclusively to the Director General and not the Board,” Ngoma said. “There is an urgent need to strike out this part of the ZNBC Act so that every managerial appointment at ZNBC must be the preserve of the Chief Executive Officer and his team. Let the ZNBC DG be free to assemble a functional team of his choice.”
The MLC believes that the Board should be preoccupied with issues of policy and implementation of the ZNBC Act and not who is appointed to what management or staff positions by the DG and his management team.
Mr. Lwando himself has expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to lead ZNBC at this crucial time. “I am honored to be appointed as the Director General of ZNBC,” he said. “I believe that the media is a crucial tool for national development, and I am committed to ensuring that ZNBC is playing its role effectively.”