Panos Institute Southern Africa is saddened by the cancellation of Prime Television’s broadcasting license, and has called on the Independent Broadcasting Authority to rescind its decision.
In a letter to Prime TV proprietor Gerald Shawa yesterday, the IBA Director General Josephine Mapoma said the TV station’s broadcasting license had been cancelled with immediate effect in line with provisions of Section 29 of the IBA Acts of 2010.
Panos Executive Director Vusumuzi Sifile notes that in the few years that the station has been on air, Prime TV has established itself as a medium of choice for many citizens, and its closure will be a blow to those who rely on the station as their preferred platform.
Mr Sifile said the station also employs many Zambian professionals, and its closure will affect their livelihoods.
He said all media houses be they community or mainstream, print, broadcast and online, public and private media houses have a role to play in supporting the achievement of Zambia’s national development priorities.
Mr Sifile said at a time as this when the country is putting maximum effort to address the corona virus public health emergency, the country needs a diverse array of media to provide timely and relevant information to a wider section of the Zambian populace to enable timely informed decisions and appropriate actions.
He said the closure of Prime TV is therefore badly timed as it will slow the free flow of information on the country’s efforts to contain an unprecedented public health emergence.
Mr Sifile said the cancellation of Prime TV’s license will limit citizens’ access to critical information, thereby limiting their ability to effectively participate in informed decision making on matters affecting them.
He added that the decision by IBA is backtracking the country’s media pluralism and development achievements since liberalization of the airwaves.
Mr Sifile added that Panos therefore appeals to the IBA to reconsider its decision and explore other remedial actions to address identified concerns the authority may have on Prime TV while the media house continues to broadcast.