By Scoop Reporter
THE Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) has demand for the reopening of Prime Television Station which was closed by Government and have called on President Edgar Lungu to intervene in the matter.
ZIIMA president Jajah Coulibaly today said the demand stems from the fact that Prime TV was not given a right to be heard before it was shut down and that a fatherly word from the Head of State to have Prime TV heard would have proven to the media that he is as friendly as he claims.
Mr. Coulibaly has appealed to President Lungu to intervene in this matter for the benefit of workers, families, and the entire media fraternity in Zambia.
“It is barely three weeks ago when Government closed Prime Television using the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). ZIIMA is therefore aware that journalists and media houses across the country have not attached any significance to this year’s World Press Freedom Day, knowing that their friends at Prime Television have been turned into destitute.
“It is a solemn moment for the media fraternity, we can’t pretend that all is well for us, when in fact not. On several occasions, President Lungu has claimed that he is a friend of the media. But we have problems believing his claims. So far under his administration, he has closed two media institutions, namely The Post newspaper and Prime TV. So, what friendliness is he claiming to have with the media?” Mr. Coulibaly asked.
He says freedom of the press, which is a key component in practicing without fear or favour, has been overlooked and overshadowed because divergent views are no longer entertained by the current Government.
“Our profession is being spat on and has been reduced to championing political propaganda at the expense of the ordinary Zambian who is our master.
“Can you claim to be friends with someone whose body parts you are chopping off and eventually killing? This is pure hypocrisy from the Head of State. His relationship with critical media is worse than Kaunda’s one party state. Moreover, his party cadres have abused journalists verbally and physically under his watch and with his full support,” he said.
He says currently, the media organisations are still working under harsh conditions but that they continue to educate, inform, and entertain the public.
“We also recognise the one and only justice that has prevailed in the case of Grace Lungu of Breeze FM where the PF cadre who attacked her while on duty was sent to prison and we hope that this continues. This shows that the media can speak out and the justice system will hear them without being intimidated and threatened to back out.
“Let us take this opportunity to reflect on our paths as the media fraternity in order to make credible decisions that will help our industry grow,” he said.