By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) says it is disappointed with the conduct by civil servants at the Ministry of Information and Media over the draft ZAMEC bill.
And also with the placing of TV stations onto the DSTV platform and plans to eliminate TopStar.
ZIIMA President Jajah Coulibaly said it is expected for the office of the Permanent Secretary to act differently from political offices but instead, they is no difference between the technocrats and the politicians.
Mr Coulibaly said civil servants are working with some known businessmen to disadvantage other businesses in the media industry.
He also said the office of the Permanent Secretary is allegedly supporting a ploy to eliminate Topstar from the market while pushing one media house to possibly obtain a private carrier license on which all local channels must be accommodated.
Mr Coulibaly has called upon President Hakainde Hichilema and investigative wings to take keen interest in the composition of people behind calls to eliminate Topstar.
He said the issues being complained about against Topstar can surely be sorted out through dialogue without killing the platform that is playing a critical role in disseminating information to majority Zambians.
“We are also wondering why the Ministry of Information and Media has become a player in the media regulation issue where the process of enacting the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC Draft Bill) into law has been put on hold and yet the majority of media practitioners in Zambia unanimously voted for media self-regulation that is backed by an Act of Parliament,” he said.
Mr Coulibaly said the Ministry should let the process flow and those minority groups with issues can do so at various stages where every stakeholder is given an opportunity to make representations on the bill.
He said ZIIMA will always stand with Journalists and media institutions that are under attack from any quarters including political machinations.
Mr Coulibaly said civil servants in the Ministry of Information and Media should be above board and ensure correct things are done for the benefit of the people.