The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has become a tool of oppressing Zambians, says civil rights activist Brebner Changala.
Commenting on the IBA’s directive to broadcast media to ensure that recordings were submitted to the Authority twice a month, Changala feared that the exercise was part of a scheme by government to use the IBA as a tool of oppressing Zambians by attempting to stifle freedom of expression.
“We are now and officially in a dictatorship where institutions, which were set-up to propagate good governance, have turned against the people of Zambia and they are being abused in all honesty and fairness. Madam Mapoma has become a danger to our freedoms and rights of becoming an open society. The idea is that Zambians are becoming informed and the democratic and economic space is dwindling. And the legitimacy of the current PF administration has also diminished. They do not want the people of Zambia to communicate to each other through radios and TVs. It has become a scare-score. What is motivating them is to silence everybody! It is the same thing that has spilled over to the police,” Changala told News Diggers in an interview.
He argued that the IBA’s directive was illegal as it was not backed by law.
“Zambia is not drifting into constitutional lawlessness where anybody who thinks he holds an office of authority or a public office can just wake up and start dictating things that are not in the Constitution and things that are not backed by law. They are trying to stifle the people of Zambia and reduce their space in terms of personal freedoms and liberties. The instructions from IBA are nothing, but illegal. That woman [Josephine] Mapoma is a woman who this country has held in high esteem, but she has become a danger to our democracy in all spheres. She is a tool of oppression; she has become an agent of a failing State! She has become abusive to the people of Zambia,” he said.
He charged that the IBA was also invading on the news media’s independence.
“They are now trying to drop every Zambian using the back-door, and they are using their offices, abusing their mandate and the law. She hasn’t cited any law in the IBA Act that allows IBA to compel radio and TV stations to surrender their recordings to anybody else! They are invading on the independence of these radio and TV stations, and indirectly abusing the people of Zambia by trying to make them live in a fearful society. And this should never be allowed. I want to appeal to the people of Zambia to rise and defend their hard-won, cherished democracy because our democratic space is reducing day by day, and we have all retreated in fear in our cocoons and the State is becoming abusive,” observed Changala.