HRC urges IBA to reconsider ban on Prime TV
By Staff Reporter
The Human Right Commission has implored the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to reconsider its decision to suspend the broadcasting license of Prime TV and allow it to operate while addressing the identified shortcomings.
And opposition Socialist Party member says the suspension of Prime TV for 30 days may sound very strange to those who are equally strange to the politics of the Patriotic Front.
In a statement, Commission spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya said that after engaging various stakeholders, the Commission strongly recommend that the IBA should consider lifting the suspension of Prime TV.
“The suspension of the broadcasting license of Prime TV for 30 days is excessive punishment that is likely to seriously undermine the growth of the privately owned television station as well as deprive millions of its viewers of their democratic right to access divergent information and views as required in a democratic state,” he said.
Muleya noted that Zambia had a relatively good record of having established a robust liberalized media industry in the quest to promote free expression of, access to divergent views, information and opinions as a matter of human rights and good governance.
Muleya stated that it would be extremely unfortunate if such a record of human rights and good governance was undermined by a decision such as suspending the broadcasting license of Prime TV when the matter could easily have been amicably resolved in a better way.
“Commission is therefore confident that the government will listen to numerous voices pleading for its public interest intervention and will accordingly review the decision made by IBA,” he said.
And speaking to newsdayzambia.com Graster Mundi a member of the socialist party in Lusaka said the ban on Prime TV was a clear intimidation of critical media houses.
Mundi said citizens may needed to be reminded that it’s during the reign of PF that the Post newspaper was unconstitutionally closed using Zambia Revenue Authority as a frontier.
“Am referring to it as unconstitutional because all the orders from the courts were ignored with impunity. Few months later, Muvi TV suffered the same fate of intimidation through a suspension and the brutal attack on the director,” Mundi said.”Today, Muvi TV is toothless and everyone is almost forgetting this once mighty voice of the poor”.
He further said it was shameful for IBA to demand an apology from Prime TV on behalf of PF general secretary Davies Mwila.
“They shamelessly go further to threaten legal proceedings should Prime TV fail to meet their demands? How? What is the connection between Davies Mwila and the Independent Broadcasting Authority? If answers to these critical questions cannot be provided now, the relevance of this state institution will remain in jeopardy awaiting its fate,” he said.