…. Says they are embarrassing Government

By Scoop Reporter

GOVERNMENT is deeply disturbed by reports of interference in the programming of some radio stations in Mpika and Chinsali districts, where some broadcast programmes have reportedly been disrupted and some unlawful directives ordered, Government spokesperson Dora Siliya has said.

Addressing the media today, Ms. Siliya said Government condemns, in the strongest terms, reported incidents involving some suspected PF cadres who attempted to stop a radio programme on Muchinga Radio that featured the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema.

She also says Government condemns the incident in Mpika district where Mr. Hichilema is reported to have been barred from featuring on Mpika Community Radio.

She says there are laws in place with very specific provisions of who has authority, to regulate broadcasting in the country and that the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act provides for every citizen, whether in their official or individual capacity, who feels aggrieved by the conduct of any broadcasting station to lodge a complaint to the IBA.

She says that procedure is clearly provided in sections 34 to 37.

“It is, therefore, total violation of the IBA Act, and an embarrassment to the Government and its leadership, for any person to procure other people to storm a radio station and disrupt a broadcast programme or to order a broadcast station to broadcast in a certain manner.

“The two unfortunate incidents have no blessings from Government. Government remains committed to the promotion of citizens’ rights, including the right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in the national Constitution, provided that the freedom is exercised within the confines of the law,” Ms. Siliya said.

She says Government remains resolute in its support and promotion of media freedoms in the country, as can be seen by the growing numbers of licensed radio and television stations.

“It is important to appreciate that broadcast houses have standards to which they conform and therefore, if any person is aggrieved with any radio or television programme, they should follow the complaint procedure as outlined in the IBA Act to seek redress, as has been demonstrated by very high ranking officials in the ruling party before.

“As the country continues to fight the Covid-19, Government appreciates any support aimed at enhancing the fight against the pandemic be it material contribution or information dissemination for as long as that information is void of politics. Therefore, government can only wish that the UPND leader would also use the opportunity on radio to encourage Zambians to join hands in fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

She says Government appeals to the conscious of radio and television stations to try as much as possible to promote unity in the nation by focusing on programming that will galvanize support towards the fight against COVID-19.

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