IBA disappoints media bodies

 IBA disappoints media bodies

The Media Liaison Committee (MLC) and World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) Zambia Committee is disappointed with the actions by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) in suspending the operating license for Prime TV.

MLC and WPFD Chairperson Enock Ngoma said IBA has completely disregarded their code of conduct and complaints procedure in dealing with Prime TV and Mr Davies Mwila’s complaints.

Mr Ngoma said IBA should have a complaint made in writing and giving the news media 14 days to respond before the complaining individual writes to IBA.

He said IBA took sides and was quick to come to the defence of the PF Secretary General instead of the media industry they regulate.

“MLC is aware of many public complaints of biasness against the public broadcaster ZNBC and other media houses aligned to the PF and yet the IBA has not had a single meeting with these media houses to discuss the complaints or let alone call for the submission of their recordings,” he said.

Mr Ngoma said MLC is also disappointed that the IBA led by a number of media personnel who are supposed to understand the operations of the media are now in the fore front in shutting down independent media platforms, reducing access to information.

He said IBA is killing media diversity and pluralism by suspending any media houses, especially community radio stations, that are deemed to be anti-PF and anti the interest of the supporters of the PF of providing platforms to government critiques and independent minds.

Mr Ngoma said the biasness by the IBA was also seen in the way IBA forced the suspension of the Zambezi Magic Lusaka Hustle following the statement by Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili without following their laid down complaints procedure.

He said  according to the IBA Act and IBA regulations, the IBA is expected to be a promoter of pluralistic and diverse broadcast media content and practice and  help regulate and arbitrate on complaints raised by aggrieved parties affected by a broadcast media in a fairly manner.

“MLC also notes the injustice of having the IBA Board chaired by the Permanent Secretary (PS) Ministry of Information and Broadcast Services (MIBS) Chanda Kasolo whose ministry is on the higher hierarchy and is expected to look into appeals against any IBA decisions.

“We therefore call on the both the IBA and the Ministry of Information PS Chanda Kasolo to immediately rescind their decision and allow Prime TV back on the air. IBA should stop abusing their powers of issuing broadcast licences, and Parliament, especially the Committee on Information and Broadcast Services to take keen interests into these questionable decisions by the IBA and its board and make to be done reforms to the set-up of the IBA Board and hiring of the Director,” he said.

Mr Ngoma said IBA action follows a series of events involving the Patriotic Front (PF) Party Secretary General Davies Mwila chasing Prime TV journalists from covering their press conference, complaining of the TV Station being biased and then writing IBA complaining about Prime TV.

The Independent Observer


John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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