Why is Minister silent over Prime TV appeal? , asks Chipenzi

By Staff Reporter

Governance, Elections, Advocacy, Research Services (GEARS) Initiative has challenged Information minister Dora Siliya to address Prime TV’s appeal against its 30 days licence suspension by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

GEARS executive Director Mcdonald Chipenzi challenged the Minister saying, the government is orchestrating schemes to injure the course of justice delivery systems in the Prime TV case.

He says it is now two weeks since Prime TV made the appeal but there has been silence from the minister, stating that it is a clear indication that nothing is being done to respond.

“This is a mockery of justice and an overt act. The decision to suspend Prime TV was a political gesture by IBA and the Minister or Ministry could have been heavily involved in the decision and therefore, finds it difficult to swallow her own decision,” he said.

Chipenzi pointed out that the responsive governance system which is free from political interference and manipulation demands that the Minister responds to the citizen’s search for justice from unfair treatment through an appeal to higher and relevant offices.

“It will soon be realised and known that actually IBA has become an animal that eats its own children in the media sector and in this case acting at the instruction of the government to intimidate and swallow off critical media outlets for political appeasement,” he said, adding that “the way the two parties have handled the  matter shows a clear manifestation of the non-existence  IBA from government control, the reason the minister has continued to dodge to discharge her duties of acting on the appeal lodged by Prime TV”.

“We demand for an explanation from the Information and Broadcasting Minister  Dora Siliya on why she has remained mute on the Prime TV appeal’s case despite her office confirming receipt of the appeal letter from Prime TV news a fortnight ago”.

Chipenzi also said GEARS was dismayed at the conduct of the Zambia Police service which he claimed had continued to deny citizens to conduct peaceful demonstrations against Prime TV suspension.

“The reasons being advanced by the police in denying the applicants of the peaceful demonstrations such as the Kafue district by-election and inadequate man power due to commitment to other national duties, are not only lame reasons but are a breach of the constitution and national duties. They are not only lame reasons but are a breach of the constitution and national values and principles” he said.

He accused the police of being lawless and wondered who would administer the law in Zambia and the assurance that every citizen enjoys equality and freedoms.

“Let those officers breaching the constitution by denying citizens their constitutionally and guaranteed rights to free expression through peaceful demonstrations be booked for future prosecution,” he said.

Last week Information Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo accused Prime TV of behaving childish by allegedly leaking the appeal letter to the media before the Minister could comment on it.