Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe has asked the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to close down television and radio stations that do not give President Edgar Lungu good coverage.
And IBA director Josephine Mapoma says the authority is trying its best to ensure that the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) carries balanced stories.
Mapoma was responding to a question from Nundwe who wanted to know how firm the IBA was in its dealings with the public broadcaster.
“…before you continue madam, let me ask this? I know am a senior government official, but does the IBA has authority to see how ZNBC conducts itself. How firm are you on ZNBC,” Nuudwe asked.
In response Mapoma said IBA was trying to see that ZNBC balances its news stories.
“We invite ZNBC when we find them wanting. They are trying to balance up. They should be setting the pace and give us the content, the other media will follow. We are trying to tell ZNBC to balance. Because of competition, if their content is not okey, people will go to other TV stations. I think the other TV stations might be doing better, so we encourage them to be professional,” Mapoma said.
She said the IBA team was on the Copperbelt to check on compliance by the TV and radio stations.
Nindwe then encouraged the regulatory authority to show its teeth to media organisations that were reporting negative news against the government.
He said there were a lot of people that wanted to mess up the country using media institutions.
“We have a lot of people that want to mess up this country. We have the media that just want to dent the image of the government. This country at the moment is going through massive infrastructure development countrywide. This PF government has done a lot and is doing much more for this country,” Nundwe said.
“Be firm on TV and radio stations that do not cover the President fairly or well. On the Copperbelt, we want ethical reporting. Don’t be toothless on people that are unethical, pounce on them please. We see a lot of radio stations, TV and other media coming up as we go to 2021 elections.”
However, Nuudwe said the private media was needed because public media could not manage to employ all the trained media personnel in the country.
“We can’t afford to only have ZNBC and ZANIS only. Even the private media are creating employment for the people. But if they misbehave, don’t just suspend for three months, but better for one year and withdraw their equipment and keep it somewhere. Pounce on them those that misbehave,” emphasized Nuudwe.