The Media Institute of Southern Africa says it does not subscribe to the government’s encroachment on the Independent Broadcasting Authority mandate as revealed by Information Minister Mwansa Kapeya who claimed he is the one mandated to issue broadcast licences.
And the Press Association of Zambia says it is wrong for Kapeya to have told parliament that Foreign Direct Investment does not exist in broadcasting.
Commenting on Kapeya’s statement that it was up to him to issue broadcast licences despite and IBA board having been put in place, MISA Zambia Chairperson Nalumino Nalumino said the IBA’s mandate was being touted in a manner that defeated its original purpose.
“The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia is concerned with the confusion in the issuance of broadcast licences and the vague mandate of the Independent Broadcast Authority (IBA) that was established this year,” Nalumino said in a statement.
“Following a Ministerial statement by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS), Mwansa Kapeya in Parliament, it is clear that while the IBA is operational, its mandate is inexplicit or limited. Currently, applicants are not sure which institution to approach for licence applications.”
He said, “We are appealing for the immediate appointment of the IBA board in order for it to take up the responsibility of issuance of licences.”
Nalumino added: “While MISA Zambia supported the appointment of the IBA Director General without a board, the organization does not subscribe to encroachment by government on IBA’s mandate.”
“We urge the government to quickly address this issue and resolve the confusion that is affecting the independent operations of both the broadcast sector and the IBA by fully operationalizing the independent broadcast regulator including the reinstatement of the Appointments Committee in the IBA Act of 2010,” he said.
Further, the revocation of the nationwide coverage licences to Radio Phoenix and QFM is going against the objectives of the IBA which is to promote media pluralism and diversity. So far, government has not alluded to parts of the law that prohibit the nationwide coverage for private media.”