INDEPENDENT Broadcasting Authority (IBA) director general Josephine Mapoma has refuted claims that UPND directed the authority to issue Prime TV a broadcasting licence.

In a statement, Sunday, Mapoma said there was nothing irregular about the authority awarding Prime Television a licence, insisting that IBA acted independently in doing so without any instructions from the newly elected party.

“The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) would like to refute assertions that the Authority was directed by the newly-elected United Party for National Development (UPND) to issue a broadcasting licence to Prime Television. The IBA wishes to inform the public that the Board acted independently when it granted Prime TV a broadcasting licence and at no point did the Authority receive any instructions to open the Station,” she said.

“The public may also wish to know that Prime TV’s previous licence became void following its cancellation by the Board of the Independent Broadcasting Authority on 9th April, 2020 pursuant to Section 29 (1) (j) (k) of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010. The decision of the Board was upheld by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services in accordance with section 31 of the IBA (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010. However, Prime TV applied for a new licence following the advertisement in the press inviting applications for radio and television licences.”

She said Prime TV was among a few new stations that met the needed requirements hence it was given the licence.

“Members of the public may wish to know that the licensing process was recently concluded and Prime Television was among the five new stations that met the requirements and were all subsequently awarded Content Service Provider licences. Therefore, there is nothing irregular about the Authority awarding Prime Television a licence in August, 2021,” she said.

She further expressed optimism that Prime TV would conduct itself professionally to avoid pitfalls that would put its licence in jeopardy.

“In this regard, the Authority would like to assure the nation that the IBA has a rigorous process of awarding and suspending or cancelling broadcasting licences and this is done autonomously. The IBA remains hopeful that Prime TV will conduct itself professionally and avoid any pitfalls that may put its licence in jeopardy,” said Mapoma.