Prime TV must now obey instructions – IBA

The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has officially lifted the suspension of Prime Television’s license with effect Friday, March 29.

In a letter by IBA Board Secretary Josephine Mapoma and addressed to the TV station’s managing director, the authority also gave Prime TV some terms and conditions under which they should operate on, urging them to follow instructions this time around.

On March 4, 2019, IBA had suspended Prime TV’s broadcasting license for 30 days citing unprofessional conduct but the TV station later appealed to the Minister of Information against the decision.

And Mapoma said the Authority has decided to lift the suspension, just five days before they served the full 30-day punishment, following the station’s appeal to the minister.

“Further to your appeal to the Honorable minister of Information and Broadcasting Services against the suspension of Prime TV broadcasting license for thirty (30) days by the Independent Broadcasting Authority and considering the efforts made by the station to address the recommendations of the IBA; the Authority hereby lifts the suspension effective today, Friday 29th March 2019,” Mapoma stated in the letter to Prime TV.

She also gave the terms and conditions under which the TV stations should operate under in order not to abrogate the IBA Act.

“Kindly note that the lifting of suspension is subject to the following terms and conditions: Prime TV should engage experts as news analysis and ensure that analysis is based on objectivity, facts and use of appropriate language; Prime TV should avoid all non-compliance issues raised by the Authority in the compliance charge sent to the station; Prime TV should ensure that individuals and institutions that are subject of any topic of discussion or news are given an opportunity to respond by making attempts to invite or contact them; Adherence to all broadcasting laws, regulations and guidelines; [and] Prime TV should avoid displaying confidential communications from the IBA on social media platforms,” stated Mapoma.

“Further, the IBA wishes to stress the need for Prime TV to obey lawful instructions from the Authority. The IBA is dismayed that it took the station almost five hours to comply with the suspension order from the time the letter was delivered and acknowledged. This was contrary to the provisions of Section 19 of the IBA Act 2010 which provides , ‘(1) subject to the provision of the Act, a person shall not operate or provide a broadcasting service in Zambia without a broadcasting License. Further, Section 2 provides that a person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand penalty units or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both.’ It is expected that going forward, Prime TV will obey the instructions from the Authority.”

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