By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The Zambia institute of Independent Media Alliance ZIIMA has called for the dissolution of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Board and the prosecution of the management.
ZIIMA president Jajah Coulibaly says the closure also had nothing to do with regulatory issues and held no good intentions, adding that the research conducted on the closure of Prime Television last year established that the action was harsh.
Mr Coulibaly has since called for an independent IBA by scrapping off the appointment powers of the minister of information and broadcasting services to the IBA board.
Mr Coulibaly said that they tried to hold several meeting with the board and the then Minister of information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya but to no avail.
“The IBA and Ms Siliya scoffed at the issue without any thought of the damage they had created to Prime TV as a business and its employees. She declared it a dead issue because, according to her, Prime TV was gone and would never come back.So it now concerns us as a media body to see that a change of government has inspired IBA to rescind their judgement on Prime TV. The IBA wants to fool Zambians that they sat and resolved to ‘grant’ Prime TV a broadcasting license,” he said.
Mr Coulibaly said they are aware that the sudden turn around has been necessitated by President-elect Hakainde Hichilema’s apology to Prime TV and his promise that such a thing would never happen under his rule.
Mr Coulibaly said ZIIMA still has unanswered questions such as who will compensate the loss that the TV station suffered, the mental anguish put on its employees as well as business partners.
“This is a masked-up admission of guilt on the part of the IBA board. We call it a masked-up admission because instead of apologising to the many families that were destabilised by this carelessness. The IBA board was supposed to be independent of political influence and execute its mandate without fear or favour but they allowed themselves to be used as tools of execution by the PF regime, further destroying the media fraternity and dividing it,” he said.
ZIIMA has since challenged the new administration under President-elect Hakainde Hichilema to ensure that the entire IBA board gets arrested and prosecuted for abuse for authority.
“The broadcasting sector was under siege by the PF administration using this monstrous IBA. Under the PF IBA board members where not appointed on merit and most of them where PF puppets with no clue on the media industry in this country,” he said.
He says that this has for a long time related to bias and gives the institution no independence to regulate the media,” he said.
Mr Coulibaly has also asked the new administration to revisit the closure and fraudulent liquidation of The Post Newspaper by the PF administration.