PRIME Television Limited has petitioned the Lusaka High Court for an order quashing Information Minister Dora Siliya’s decision to cease all cooperation with the station.
The television station, which has cited the Attorney General, Topstar Communications Company Limited and Multichoice Zambia Limited as respondents, is seeking an order declaring government’s decision to cease all transactions and business with it, unconstitutional.
Prime Television further wants an order that all media houses have the right to access and disseminate information from government without undue hinderances, as well as, compensation for loss of income and loss of business resulting from Topstar’s statement.
It also wants an order that Topstar Communications Company and Multichoice Zambia cannot remove it from their platforms at the direction of government.
In its petition filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, Tuesday, Prime Television stated that on March 13, this year, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Amos Malupenga held a meeting for Media houses and media heads.
It added that at the said meeting, he requested them to give free airtime to the broadcasting of adverts informing the public about the Coronavirus outbreak.
Prime TV further stated that at the said meeting, its proprietor Gerald Shawa stood up and informed the permanent secretary that the station could not afford to broadcast free adverts due to economic challenges.
“The permanent secretary stated that media houses that did not cooperate with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services would be isolated like the Post Newspaper,” read the petition.
The television station stated that on March 17, Siliya in a statement issued a directive that government and all it’s agents shall not conduct any business with it, which limits access to the station’s audience with Topstar and Multichoice, both of which ZNBC had shares in.
Prime TV stated that the said decision by government undermined its right to receive information thereby denying its viewership critical and important governance information.