THE Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has backtracked on an earlier statement, saying it actually has powers to regulate online broadcasting.

Last week, an online based TV station Spring TV ran a misleading story that former General Education Minister David Mabumba had committed suicide.

Thereafter, IBA issued a statement condemning the story but at the same time saying no action could be taken against the station because it was not a licensee of the authority as it had no mandate to regulate online broadcasting.

Following up on this statement, the Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) wrote to the IBA, asking it whether Prime TV was also free to start online broadcasting.

But in a statement, Friday, IBA board chairperson Mabel Mung’omba cautioned that even online broadcasters need a license.

“IBA issued a press statement on July 30, 2020, regarding the status of Spring TV and the regulation pertaining to online broadcasting. The said statement was issued in the context that Spring TV is not a licensee of the IBA. Spring TV, like any other broadcasting service provider, is bound by section 19 (1) of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010, which prohibits the operation of the provision of a broadcasting service in Zambia without a broadcasting licence. Accordingly, Section 2 of the IBA Act No. 17 of 2002 (as amended by Act No. 26 of 2010) defines broadcasting as ‘any form of un-directional electronic communication intended for reception by; the public, the sections of public or subscribers to any broadcasting services, whether conveyed by means of radio frequency spectrum or any electronic communications network or any combination thereof,” stated Mung’omba.

“Therefore, any person wishing to operate or provide broadcasting service in Zambia, regardless of whether the broadcasting service is conveyed through radio frequency spectrum or any electronic communication networks such as the Internet, is required to obtain a broadcasting license from the IBA. Operating without a broadcasting license amounts to an offence punishable under Section 19 (2) of the IBA Act.”