Prime Television viewers were shocked, Wednesday night, when the private TV station aired state broadcaster ZNBC’s Sunday Interview programmme featuring Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya.

Some Prime TV viewers wondered whether this was an admission that the national broadcaster had lost its viewership due to biased reporting.

But when contacted, Prime TV proprietor Gerald Shawa thanked government for the consideration and announced the decision to give the program an extra slot to air, free of charge.

Below are some of the comments extracted from Prime TV’s Facebook page:

“The problem is that they don’t want a feedback from the viewers who are the victims of bad governance, let them not spread that ailment to you Prime Television Zambia. They don’t run properly that Sunday Interview,” – Benson Sikaonga Melodious

“I just saw a pop up notification I thought it was good program we don’t watch ZNBC because of this rubbish but because of money you want us to watch a vomited things like this! Ba Prime TV poseniko amano (pay attention) we can’t waste our bundles for this trash!!!” – Jeff Alex Kazungo

“After realising that they have lost market, government through ZNBC now has started having paid up programmes on prime TV. Sunday interview featuring Dora…. is now on Prime TV! Useless people,” – Mwelwa Mwape Pethias

“But ba Prime sure tizatabila kuti manje? (where will we run to now) the same things we run away from [at] ZNBC mwayamba kuvileta kwanu again (you have started bringing them here)…. OK let me try Diamond,” – Stan Mwinga

“But why showing Sunday Interview on Prime TV? Does it [mean] ZNBC has severely lost its viewer base?” stated the viewers,” – Robinson Kambeu

But in an interview, Shawa said his station was committed to airing dissenting information and conveying government’s messages.

“We are humbled to receive this support from government. We believe that we have been entrusted with the responsibility of disseminating information containing the government’s position on critical policy issues to the masses beyond the reach of our colleagues at ZNBC, and we cannot take this lightly,” said Shawa.

“It was a paid for programme and we actually did a TV promo for it. As a gesture of good will, in fact, coming from myself as former employee of ZNBC we have decided to give the Sunday Interview programme an extra free slot to air, because it is our editorial policy to be objective. So we are humbled by this gesture from government.”