MUVI Television and Komboni Radio have sued the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) in the Lusaka High Court, challenging their suspension for alleged professional misconduct.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry through their lawyer Milner Katolo, the two media organizations have asked the court to compel IBA to reopen their stations, saying they would otherwise suffer irreparable damage.
The stations have also sought an injunction to compel IBA or its agents to remove police officers at their premises and allow them to have free access to their business premises.
They further want the release of all the stations’ broadcasting equipment seized by the respondents pending the determination of the matter.
It alleges that the board erred in law and fact when it decided to suspend their licenses without following procedure stipulated in section 29 (2) of the IBA Act which obligates the authority to notify the licensee of the measures to be taken to comply with the conditions of the broadcasting license.
They argued that the authority erred in law and fact when it suspended the appellant’s broadcasting license before affording them time within which to comply with the Act if there was a breach of the Act.
Further, it said, the board erred when it suspended the broadcasting services based on the provisions of section 29 (1) (I) without giving sufficient particulars of specific incidents of alleged unprofessional conduct or specific details of how public safety, security or peace was threatened by the appellant’s broadcasts.
Muvi TV director of administration Alfred Tembo contended in his affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for an order of mandatory injunction that on September 23, 2013, Muvi TV was granted a broadcasting licence by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services for a term of five years to expire on September 22, 2018.
Mr Tembo said since then Muvi TV had been in the business of broadcasting and has conducted itself in a professional manner and in accordance with the provision of the law.
He said on August 22, 2016, IBA issued a press statements in which it announced the suspension of its license together with that of Komboni and Itezhi Tezhi radio stations on allegations that they had conducted themselves in unprofessional manner.
Mr Tembo said the TV station was surprised to see a combined team of officers from the Zambia Police and ZICTA surround the television premises and demanded that the station surrender its broadcasting transmitter and other documents.