INDEPENDENT Broadcasting Authority (IBA) director general Josephine Mapoma has reinstated Prime Television’s broadcasting license over a year since it was cancelled in “public interest”.
In a letter addressed to Prime TV proprietor Gerald Shawa, Wednesday, Mapoma said the authority held a special meeting and considered Prime Television’s application to have it’s license given back pursuant to Sections 21 and 22 of the IBA (Amendment) Act No 26 of 2010.
“Reference is made to your application to have a television broadcasting licence and our letter dated 11th February 2021 to yourselves. I wish to inform you that the board of Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) at its 20th special meeting held on 17th August 2021 did consider your application pursuant to Sections 21 and 22 of the IBA (Amendment) Act No 26 of 2010. Note that the Content Service Provider License is granted subject to the following terms and conditions. i. Payment of License Fee of Twenty Thousand Kwacha (K20,000) valid for the duration of the License (7 years). ii. Payment of Annual Operating Fees of Twenty Thousand Kwacha (K20,000) due on 1st January of each year, starting in 2021 if the station would commence broadcasting within 2021. iii. Adherence to Section 29 of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010. iv. Commencement of Broadcasting within a hundred and twenty (days) from the time of recipient of this offer in accordance with Section 29(1) (c) of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010. v. Adherence to Section 28 of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010 on License renewal. vi. Being carried by an authorized signal distributor,” read the letter.
“vii. Submission to the Authority of Annual Financial Reports in accordance with Section 22 (5) (d) of the IBA Amendment Act No. 26 of 2010. viii. Development and adherence to the station’s in – House Code of professional standards which should comply with the minimum requirements as prescribed in Section 33 of the IBA Act No. 17 of 2002. ix. Observance of the Ethical Guidelines for broadcasters. x. Development of the complaints procedure and its promotion on air. xi. Adherence to the programming Schedule submitted to the IBA and notifying the Authority of any intended changes to the schedule. xii. Adherence to Section 25 of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010 on prohibition of transfer, selling, assigning, leasing, and mortgaging of broadcasting license. xiii. Adherence to the IBA Act, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Manual and other broadcast regulations.”
Mapoma enclosed copies of the IBA Act and other regulations and wished Prime TV well.
Prime TV was threatened with closure many times during the PF administration as it provided a platform for many critics to air their views.
However, its license was only revoked after a dispute with government over COVID-19 adverts. The private station had refused to air free sensitisation adverts, which angered then information minister Dora Siliya.
Siliya ordered all government agents to stop conducting business with Prime TV.
Consequently, Topstar removed Prime TV from its list of services and eventually, the IBA cancelled the television station’s license. Not even the court process over turned this.
It was not until President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema won the presidential election that Prime TV could finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
The TV station covered Hichilema’s first press briefing as President-Elect and streamed it live on Facebook. Since then, the TV station has been streaming other content on its Facebook page.
Hichilema has promised that his administration will ensure no media shut downs and self regulation of the media.