University of Zambia (UNZA) Media and Communication Studies lecturer Brenda Bukowa says the Independent Broadcasting Authority’s decision to suspend Zambezi Magic’s Lusaka Hustle show was premature.

In a statement, Bukowa stated that just because Kuni wore make up was not proof that he was gay.

“To begin with, let me state that I feel that IBA’s move to suspend the show is premature and rushed. I am not convinced that the show advocates for gay rights nor did it portray traits of being one that would advocate for homosexuality. Why do I say so? Firstly, just because one episode featured a segment that was scripted to represent three people as females when in fact one is a male does not necessarily mean that, that male is a homosexual. Secondly, just because this male wears make-up doesn’t ultimately justify the notion that he is gay and hence his appearance in a TV programme translates into a homosexual pro-programme,” Bukowa said.

“I am aware of the Laws of Zambia and that homosexuality is illegal and punishable. I am also aware that we are a very conservative society, but I am not sure that we should ban programmes on mere suspicions that an individual practices a certain lifestyle. In my opinion, what IBA should have done is to call Multi-Choice and the producers of the programme and discuss the nitty-gritties of having to clean up acts that may be suspicious of advocating lifestyles that the Zambian Laws do not allow. As it is right now, through IBA claims their move is based on public outcry, I feel it is premature and if there is still a place for dialogue, Multi-Choice, the Producers of the ‘Lusaka hustle’ and IBA must sit and discuss this issue further with a possibility of bringing back the programme on Zambezi Magic.”

And Bukowa said the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs should stop interfering in the work of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

“May I appeal to the ministry of religious affairs to next time not get involved in the direct running of the media but limit their role to recommending to IBA through the ministry of Information and Broadcasting on which programs the ministry feels are not in-sync with the moral fibre of our society. My statement is in response to the interference in operations of Zambezi Magic exhibited by the Ministry last week, through the minister who called for the banning of the programme and not making a recommendation for the banning of the programme-there is a huge difference between the two! Let us work towards building the media industry as a team through dialogue and not destroying it based on assumptions!” Bukowa said.