INDEPENDENT Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Director General Josephine Mapoma says the authority currently has no comment regarding Prime Television’s resumption of operations as their focus now is the inauguration of President-elect Hakainde Hichilema.
On Sunday, Prime Television Zambia posted on its official Facebook page that it was back and that it would cover the inauguration of the President elect Hichilema.
The television station has been closed since early last year following the cancellation of its license by the IBA “in public interest”.
In an interview on whether the authority had reinstated the privately owned TV station’s license, Monday, Mapoma said the authority had no comment on the issue as of now because their focus was on the inauguration and the way forward for the country.
“I believe Prime TV wrote something to say ‘we are back’. You might wish to ask them what their position is. Why don’t you ask Prime TV what their status is? [I don’t have a comment], not at the moment. I think our focus now is on the inauguration of the President and the way forward in terms of the Republic of Zambia,” said Mapoma.
And in his address, President-elect Hichilema said the UPND administration believed in self-media regulation, further assuring that no media house would be shut down under his government.
“To us, the fourth estate is not just a medium. You are an important channel for checks and balances. We believe in media freedoms. We believe in self-regulation of the media which means that the access to information and media freedoms, if not sufficient to give you the freedom, they will be enhanced. Self regulation means you have professional standards that will allow you to exercise your professionalism that media houses must be fair. You must cover people equitably and not project hate messages. It is an opportunity to deliver news content in a manner which is professional. The UPND government is not there to chock the media or shut down Prime Television. Prime TV, I see your sign and sorry about what happened to you. It will not happen under our government and administration. You will grow as a business. No political hand will be there to shut down a media house. We are victims of a media shut out on us. We were not appearing on ZNBC but welcome home ZNBC,” said Hichilema.
“The media must be open to all. It is not a tool to demonize like it was with our competitors. I know that ZNBC operated the way it did because of political instruction. I want to say to you that there will be no political instruction to control your editorial policy under the UPND government. Be a true public broadcaster. Cover the opposition, we are confident of our work that we will not mind by using you to shut down the voices of the opposition. Cover the UPND administration because it is part of your editorial policy and agenda. When covering other political parties, there will be no Minster who will visit you to tell you which articles must be covered at the main news time. If you want, you can start from this press conference, if you do not cover us, it is okay because technology has grown. If you do not cover news, you will not generate revenue. You may not pay salaries and you may shut down.”