The three church mother bodies say it is hypocritical and undemocratic to suspend Prime TV’s broadcasting license when government owned and controlled media outlets have miserably been unprofessional and unethical in their news coverage.
And the church mother bodies say the Independent Broadcasting Authority’s decision to suspend Prime TV’s license is not only embarrassing to government but it shows how dead the consciences of those leading the country had become.
In a joint press statement, the three church mother bodies; Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), said the action by IBA to suspend Prime TV was harassment and intimidation to institutions that do not dance to the PF tune.
“We, the Three Church Mother Bodies namely Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) wish to condemn in strongest terms the suspension of Prime TV broadcasting license by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) for thirty days over broadcasts that are deemed to have potential to cause unrest. It is clear for every well-meaning Zambian to draw a line between the Government owned media institutions (ZNBC, Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia) and Prime TV in terms of professional and balanced coverage of news in the country,” the church mother bodies stated.
“It is also our view that the grounds IBA has used to suspend the broadcasting license of Prime TV must have been applied first on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia before applying them on any other media house. Further, it is hypocritical to allow the suspension of a broadcasting license of a Private Media House when Government owned and controlled media outlets HAVE MISERABLY BEEN UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNETHICAL in the manner they cover news in the country, more especially during election times.”
And the church mother bodies said the development showed that the consciences of those leading the country were dead.
“The decision by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to suspend Prime TV is not only embarrassing to the Government, but also it shows how dead the consciences of those in Government have become. As a country that aspires to be Christian, we strongly believe that both Government and IBA need to have recourse to the biblical principle as enshrined in the Gospel of Mathew 7:3-5 that a man cannot remove a speck from their brother’s eye when they themselves have not first removed the plunk from their own eye,” the church mother bodies stated.
The church called on IBA to seriously consider lifting the suspension of Prime TV’s broadcasting license with immediate effect.
“We therefore call for an end to this kind of behaviour which arguably betray double standards being applied, and does not promote the democratic credentials of our beloved country. Office bearers have the duty to ensure that the law is applied fairly on all citizens and institutions, unlike what is obtaining on the ground. In addition, the action by IBA has the potential of being construed as a harassment and intimidation of institutions that do not dance to the tune of the Government and the ruling party, and constitutes a threat to democracy. The suspension will also negatively affect the employees of the private media house and their families. We hope that Prime TV will use and exhaust every legal channel in this matter to pursue justice. Finally, we call upon IBA to seriously consider lifting the suspension of the broadcasting license of Prime TV with immediate effect and allow the media house to operate freely without any intimidation,” stated the church.