It’s foolish to comment on issues without researching – Kasolo
By Staff Reporter
Information Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has castigated the Church mother bodies for commenting on the closure of Prime TV whilst he has “educated” the U.S embassy on the IBA law that was applied.
Kasolo expressed concern on the matter when he appeared on 5 FM’s Burning Issue programme today, stating that “commenting without information is a fool’s game…. I repeat that! It’s a fools game.”
“Iam shocked!!, you know I am a Catholic myself and I went through a Jesuits seminary. I am shocked that they kept quiet on many relevant issues that have been going around. For example, there was an outcry on the Lusaka Hustle (TV Show) about issues of homosexuality…not a word…not a whisper, from the three church mother bodies, quiet…I wonder why. I thought this is really in their heart and minds. It’s a morality issue, it’s a religious issue,” he challenged.
He said other issues of child abuse and early marriages are always in the news, including the recent revelations of the high number of 27 000 pregnancy cases in the Eastern province and they never said anything about this because it was not political.
“I wonder if the three church mother bodes are semi politicians. I am not a politician so they shouldn’t come with politics to me. The three mother bodies are full of educated individuals, why didn’t they come to the office of the IBA chairman (Kasolo ) and say ‘let’s discuss this. Why have you done this?’ We go through it then they can make a decision.” Kasolo said.
Kasolo accused the Church mother bodies of making a comment from an ignorant point of view.
“Who has given them the details of what went on? Have they read the IBA act? They haven’t! I am very shocked about this one. Same as all these other NGOs. You know, they are paid money for speaking so that’s why they are speaking, so that they can get more money from their sponsors,” he claimed.
He asked if the Bishops were even aware that it took him (as IBA chairman) to insist that the Prime TV ban should be reduced to 30 days because everyone on the board wanted it to be six months.
Kasolo said Prime TV had in the past, been engaged and warned several times about their unprofessional conduct but they did not hid to the IBA advise.
He claimed that the issue of the PF secretary general Davies Mwila lodging in a complaint had nothing to do with the current action taken against the station because it would have warranted subjection to a different high court procedure.
“For example we asked them not to show close ups of dead bodies without warning but they continued to do that as recent as 10th February 2019. There are rules and conditions when you want to be a broadcaster. If you don’t follow those rules then you don’t deserve to have that certificate. Zambians like to ‘yap’ anyhow without facts. They should have come to us to find out why we took this stance.”
He said he also took time to educate some foreign dignitaries about the current IBA law and advised Zambians who are aggrieved by the Act in its present form, to make a formal complaint to repeal the law instead of forcing the Authority to inadequately operate, because for now, he will apply it as it is.
“I am currently fighting to include ZNBC as part of the regulated broadcasting houses because the people who drafted the IBA Act left out this inclusion except where a large section of society complains against the broadcaster. I believe in fairness. And now I am told that the letter of appeal that Prime TV wrote to the Minister of Information is already being circulated to the media…unbelievable! This shows the shallowness of the whole thing,” he said.
Yesterday the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) condemned the decision by IBA to suspend Prime TV, describing it as an embarrassment to government.
In a joint statement yesterday, the three church mother bodies challenged IBA to use the same laws they used to suspend Prime TV to first apply them on ZNBC, Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia. The Church says the decision also shows how dead the consciences of those in Government had become.
However, in a bazzare twist this afternoon, CCZ president Bishop Sydney Sichilima denied any connection with the letter written on the IBA issue and that it had no blessings of his office.
“We disassociate ourselves from the said letter purported to have come from us because I did not sign it and it did not follow procedure before being released” adding that “the statement was unchristian and was not authenticated by the bishops.
Meanwhile, the United States government yesterday also condemned the IBA for suspending Prime TV broadcasting license because it takes away the fundamentals of freedom of speech and the press, which are a critical components of a vibrant democracy.
In a press release by the United States embassy in Lusaka and obtained by newsdayzambia.com, Press officer Sean McIntosh says his country remained a strong advocate for inherent human freedoms around the world.
“The U.S Embassy in Lusaka joins other voices in concern over Independent Broadcasting Authority’s decision to suspend Prime TV broadcasting licence. The United States finds this suspension counter productive to upholding these principles and urges an urgent reconsideration of this action” he stated.
A cross section of society who included media bodies like Panos institute and NGOs like NGOCC have also expressed concern over the suspension of Prime TV licence.