The United States Embassy has asked the Independent Broadcasting Authority to urgently reverse the suspension of Prime TV’s broadcasting license saying it is counter productive to upholding democratic tenets.
And Prime TV managing director Gerald Shawa has appealed to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services against the suspension.
In a statement, Wednesday, the U.S Embassy joined other voices in raising concern over IBA’s conduct.
“The United States remains a staunch advocate for inherent human freedoms around the world. U.S. Embassy Lusaka joins other voices in concern over the Independent Broadcast Authority’s decision to suspend Prime TV’s broadcasting license. The fundamental freedoms of speech and the press are critical for the advancement of a vibrant democracy. The United States finds the suspension of Prime TV’s license counterproductive to upholding these principles, and encourages an urgent reconsideration of this action,” read the statement.
And in his letter, addressed to Information Minister Dora Siliya, dated March 5, 2019, Shawa argued that suspending the TV licence for 30 days was not the only available remedy to address the alleged unprofessionalism at Prime TV.
“We write to appeal against the IBA decision to suspend our broadcast license for 30 days in their letter dated 4th March, 2019, pursuant to Section 31 (1) of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Amendment Act No.26 of 2010. It is our considered view that a suspension is not the only remedy available to address what the IBA termed as unprofessional practice by Prime Television,” Shawa stated.
Shawa appealed to Siliya to review and consider giving him a warning with specific guidelines so that the institution did not suffer economic losses.
“Given the immediate, economic effects on the broadcast institution that would follow as a result of the IBA decision, we request that your Ministry reviews the IBA action to a warning with specific guidelines as has been the practice with other institutions before. We hope and pray that our request is favourably considered,” appealed Shawa.