Information Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has no capacity to effectively monitor all broadcast media houses hence its request for programme recordings fortnightly is a clever way of meeting their targets.

And Kasolo says the IBA is in order to request TV and radio stations to be surrendering their broadcast content every two weeks for monitoring purposes because the authority has powers demand content every day if it wishes.

In an interview , Kasolo said the IBA did not have enough employees to monitor programs on all TV and radio stations so it was looking for clever ways of doing so.

“Monitoring comes in so many ways, we can monitor by staying away or going to all these radio and TV stations. For instance we can go to Luapula Province, sit in Mansa and listen to the radio stations; that’s part of monitoring. But that requires a lot of effort and resources. We need probably 200 people sitting everyday but that’s not possible because IBA has only about 30 employees and currently, we have an economic situation where we are under austerity measures, we cannot even think of expanding the team. So we are trying to find clever ways of monitoring and I can assure you there is no malice whatever in this process. We are here to develop media houses and the media fraternity,” Kasolo said.

Asked if IBA was pushing the cost of monitoring to media owners, Kasolo said the authority was looking for a win-win situation.

“No no, we are not pushing the cost on the media owners, that’s why we met them. What we are trying to do is find a way of clever monitoring. But I can’t go into details right now because I let the cat out of the bag. But we are working on some systems which will help us monitor more efficiently without necessarily having to be in a Province,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kasolo said IBA had power to demand radio and TV stations to be submitting content everyday.

“I think those people haven’t just read the Act. If you read the Act, the IBA has wide powers, they can even ask you to submit [content] everyday, if they wish. But we simply say the media owners must keep their broadcast content because the IBA can request at any time for that content. So it means the IBA have that power and they do for a purpose and in this purpose, I can assure you that they are just testing their systems of monitoring to see if they can cope if everybody had to be monitored like that. But these people even though they are complaining, we are just trying to make the systems better,” said Kasolo.

“Then also, I can let you know that the Media Owners Association came to meet me last week and the following day, I also met the Media Liaison Committee over this same issue and I directed that they go and meet IBA, which they did and then an amicable solution was found. What they complained was that it would take a lot of cost to be doing that (submitting content fortnightly), but also some technicians from some of the media houses indicated that there was better methods of providing the data which is almost cost free. So that’s why I directed them to see IBA management, they sat down and resolved everything and I am told there is a report which came for me this morning from IBA. But I can assure you it was done in good faith. However, maybe IBA should have sensitized media houses before sending out the letter about this requirement. But we all learn as we go on.”