THE UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) has written to President Edgar Lungu asking him to immediately reopen Prime Television.
In a letter dated April 12, UPND secretary general Steven Katuka said the closure would result in increased unemployment levels.
“We write to express our disappointment and displeasure over your government’s decision to close Prime Television. We note that the media forms a beacon for any successful democratic dispensation without which, the general citizenry loses access to information. We therefore, urge you to immediately rescind your decision and open Prime TV. We know that the Independent Broadcasting Authority was just used to carry out the wishes of your government. As UPND, we strongly demand that you immediately reverse the decision and open Prime Television. The closure will result in unemployment of many people and dent Zambia’s democratic image,” Katuka wrote.
And Katuka said the closure of the Prime Television confirmed that President Lungu’s government has indeed become a dictatorship.
“As a lawyer yourself Mr President, you know too well that a free press is a cornerstone of any democracy. You need not to be schooled that a free press plays a vital role in democratic societies, enabling
the open exchange of information and opinions among ordinary citizens, businesses, citizens associations, political parties and government. We, together with other stakeholders with like mind, have said time
and again that your government is dictatorial. Closing Prime Television confirms our fears that your government has indeed become a dictatorship. Since 1991 when our country reverted back to multiparty
democracy, Zambia has been seen as a beacon of hope and democracy in the region and Africa because of the democratic tenets that successive governments before yours have respected. Your government closed The
Post Newspapers in 2016 because you viewed it as a platform for dissenting views,” he stated.
He insisted that the closure was counterproductive and detrimental to the country’s governance record.
“You profess to be a democrat but your actions speak a totally different language. Your government’s move to close Prime TV is counterproductive and detrimental to the country’s governance record. It is our strong view that the press must be allowed to perform its essential role; to investigate, and scrutinise our leaders and institutions,” said Katuka.