THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has backed calls by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to air pre-recorded programmes to avoid attacks.

And Mwale says people that are disrupting radio programmes are trying to tarnish President Edgar Lungu’s name.

Last week, IBA Director General Josephine Mapoma advised radio and television stations to interview certain sources from their homes, and thereafter, air recorded programmes rather than hosting them in the studios to avoid attacks.

Commenting on the recommendation, MISA chairperson Hellen Mwale said if radio guests were continuously being attacked when they featured on-air, it was only right to produce pre-recorded programmes.

When asked if the Institute supported the IBA’s suggestion, she responded in the affirmative.

“On people that are supposed to feature on radio, I think that is a good idea. However, I want to mention that when Hakainde Hichilema featured on Radio Mano, it was via phone; when he wanted to feature on Mpika FM, it was via phone; when he featured on Muchinga FM, it was via phone. What is so confusing about all this is I know that President Edgar Lungu has stated that he will not tolerate lawlessness in the country and I want to isolate the people causing confusing in the country from President Lungu because he has openly said it he will not tolerate it,” Mwale said.

“We do not want to blame either the ruling party or the opposition political party, but we want to know who is behind all this and what is their agenda? Why should they use the media as a source of war in this country? Why should they steal people’s free access to information and freedom to express themselves? We are expecting all the citizens of this country to use media for progressive purposes, and exchange ideas. But why should we have an agenda of shutting up people? Why don’t they use other forms to challenge whatever the opponents are saying?”

Mwale also argued that the perpetrators behind the disruption of radio programmes whenever Hichilema featured were working very hard to make sure that President Lungu looked bad.

“And these people are using the name of the party to create confusion because, truly, one thing we must address is what agenda are these people propelling? They want to use the media to be a source of confusion in this country. In some countries, the media was used as a source of war and we need to be very careful on how we want to use the media. We cannot continue to use too much excess force, but we need to allow citizens to express themselves. It is in Muchinga Province where we are having all these problems and we don’t see why the leadership of the party in Muchinga are failing to contain this. We know government has separated itself from all this confusion, people were saying, ‘it is the PF government’, but the Minister of Information (Dora Siliya) did issue a clear a statement on that,” said Mwale.

“We have done our investigations as MISA and we know what is on the ground and question the one behind this; what is their agenda? If they know that the opposition leader is going to attack the PF government on radio, they can call in and explain the developmental agenda. The question that begs an answer is: who is behind this confusion? Are they trying to show that President Lungu has failed and they are using people to be unruly or they are making the President look bad so that he fails? What is their agenda behind all this confusing they are trying to create in media houses? Who is funding this confusion? What do they want people to think about President Lungu’s leadership? We know that someone is working very hard to make the President look bad or the party look bad.”