Shut down of Prime TV is embarrassing – church

By Staff Reporter

THE suspension of the broadcasting licence for Prime TV is embarrassing to government, the three church mother bodies have observed.

The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) stated that the decision by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to suspend Prime TV was not only embarrassing to the Government, but a show of how dead the consciences of those in Government had become.

Condemning the 30 day suspension of the operating license for Prime TV by the IBA on Monday, the church mother bodies noted that it was clear for every well-meaning Zambian to draw a line between the Government owned media institutions ZNBC, Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia and Prime TV in terms of professional and balanced coverage of news in the country.

The Church mother bodies stated that it was also their view that the grounds IBA had used to suspend the broadcasting license of Prime TV must have been applied first on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia before applying them on any other media house.

They further said that it was hypocritical to allow the suspension of a broadcasting license of a private media house when government owned and controlled media outlets had been miserably been unprofessional and unethical in the manner they cover news, more especially during election times.

They said both Government and IBA need to have recourse to the biblical principle as enshrined in the gospel of Mathew 7:3-5 that a man cannot remove a speck from their brother’s eye when they themselves have not first removed the plunk from their own eye.

In a joint statement issued to the media the Church mother bodies  called for an end to this kind of behaviour, which arguably portray double standards being applied, which did not promote the democratic credentials of the country.

They noted that office bearers have the duty to ensure that the law was applied fairly on all citizens and institutions, unlike what was obtaining on the ground.

“In addition, the action by IBA has the potential of being construed as a harassment and intimidation of institutions that do not dance to the tune of the Government and the ruling party, and constitutes a threat to democracy,” reads the statement. “The suspension will also negatively affect the employees of the private media house and their families. We hope that Prime TV will use and exhaust every legal channel in this matter to pursue justice”.

They have since urged the IBA to seriously consider lifting the suspension of the broadcasting license of Prime TV with immediate effect and allow the media house to operate freely without any intimidation.