By Scoop Reporter
THE Media Owners Association of Zambia (MOAZ) has strongly condemned the alleged interference in the operation of Mpika radio station by Mpika District Commissioner (DC) Moses Katebe and want him disciplined.
MOAZ president Kenny Tonga says MOAZ has been taken aback by acts of intimidation by Mr. Katebe and the attack on Muchinga Radio station by political cadres for featuring an opposition leader.
Mr. Tonga has demanded that the appointing authority discipline such Government officials and political cadres because their conduct is an assault on media freedom, democracy, and development.
He says the Association received reports that the DC cancelled, a named opposition political party leader’s paid for radio programme and warned the station manager against featuring the opposition on the radio station.
He says there are different people that listen to the radio station and therefore instructing the station manager to broadcast or air only what the DC wants is uncalled for.
He says media houses have the right to host anyone regardless of their political affiliation because their role is to inform, educate and entertain the masses, hence the Association does not expect an individual to interfere with a radio station’s programmes.
He says MOAZ extremely disturbed to learn the DC’s conduct is happening at the time when Zambia and the international community is from commemorating the World Press Freedom Day, a few days ago on May 3, 2020 under the theme: “Journalism without Fear or Favour”.
He has urged the DC to stop interfering with the operations of the radio station because media practitioners are not politicians.
He says all (electronic) media houses are regulated by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), by whose guidelines and Act, media houses operate.
“Any aggrieved persons are therefore supposed to complain to IBA who would take action should the said media house be found wanting. Therefore, it is wrong for any Government official to take up the responsibility of IBA to regulate content provided by any Media House.
“We further wish to advise government officials to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the IBA Act and the Complaint procedures and guidelines to avoid embarrassing themselves,” Mr. Tonga said.
He has warned individuals who are in the habit of intimidating media houses to desist from their uncivilized actions as they are denting the image of Government and the country at large.