Prime Television managing director Gerald Shawa has asked the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to dismiss the complaint by PF youth Chanoda Ngwira against the TV station saying it is in breach of the authority’s act.
In his letter dated September 17, 2018, addressed to IBA, Ngwira had cited the TV station for serious breach of the authority standard operating procedure through the repeated airing of a political advert.
Ngwira further charged that the political advert was ill-intended to incite viewers to rise against government and further sought IBA’s intervention.
But in his response to Ngwira’s claim, Shawa appealed to the authority to dismiss the letter as its author did not follow the IBA Act’s complaints procedure.
“We are in receipt of a carbon copy dated 17th September, 2018, in which Chanoda Ngwira sought intervention from the IBA citing our broadcasting institution of breach of standard operating procedure. It is our considered view that the complainant is breaching the very IBA Act they endeavour to protect by not following the complaints procedure. As you may recall, this is the same procedural technicality we argued about in our previous engagement with the IBA Compliance Committee,” Shawa stated.
He explained that the IBA complaints procedure provided for a complainant to first write to the accused media house 14 days within the broadcast of such unlawful material.
“As you may be aware, the IBA complaints procedure provides for a complainant to first write the media in question 14 days within the broadcast of such an unlawful material within which the broadcast institution responds. If the answer is not satisfactory or matter not resolved, the complainant can write the IBA who would engage the said media house within 14 days. If the matter requires compliance, the media house would be written to by IBA within 14 days within which specific performance would be sought by the authority. If the matter is of a litigation nature, the IBA would then have the matter referred to court for redress,” Shawa stated.
He noted that the complainant did not follow the correct procedure as prescribed in the Act.
“We are of the view that such a procedure has been overlooked by the complainant and we request the IBA to advise the complainant accordingly for them not to breach the same law they intend to preserve: ‘He that comes to equity must come with clean hands.’ We further request that the letter be dismissed for failure by the complainant to follow the procedure,” he stated.
Shawa, however, stated that the authority should dismiss the complaint and advise the complainant to follow the right procedure.
“IBA should annul the claim from the complainant and advise them on adherence to the IBA Act complaints procedure for us to safeguard the integrity of the law. As a media house, we have always endeavoured to comply with the IBA Standard Operating Procedure,” stated Shawa.