The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia says it is concerned with the confusion raging in the issuance of broadcast licences and the vague mandate of the Independent Broadcast Authority (IBA) that was established this year.
MISA Chairperson Nalumino Nalumino said following a Ministerial statement by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS), Mwansa Kapeya in Parliament, it was clear that while the IBA is operational, its mandate was inexplicit or limited because currently, applicants were not sure which institution to approach for licence applications.
“We are appealing for the immediate appointment of the IBA board in order for it to take up the responsibility of issuance of licences. 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 broadcasting 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.
Nalumino further said the revocation of the nationwide coverage licences to Radio Phoenix and QFM was going against the objectives of the IBA which is to promote media pluralism and diversity.
He said so far government had not alluded to parts of the law that prohibit the nationwide coverage for private media.
He said the stance was equally against the consolidation of Zambia’s democracy and good governance which could only exist where free flow of information was guaranteed.