BFF-49 Zambia suspends pro-opposition TV news channel

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BFF-49

ZAMBIA-MASS-MEDIA-TELEVISION

Zambia suspends pro-opposition TV news channel

LUSAKA, March 4, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Zambia’s broadcasting regulator on
Monday ordered a one-month suspension of a TV channel that has been critical
of the government, just days after the governing party accused the station of
bias and unprofessionalism.

Established seven years ago by a former cameraman at the state-owned
Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Prime TV has openly condemned the
government of President Edgar Lungu.

The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) “resolved to suspend (the)
license with immediate effect for 30 days,” IBA board secretary Josephine
Mapoma told a news conference in Lusaka.

“During the suspension period the station is expected to conduct in-house
training in basic journalism, ethics and news script writing,” said Mapoma.

Last week, the secretary general of the ruling Patriotic Front, Davis
Mwila complained to the authority of “biased coverage and unethical reporting
of political opinions and beliefs disguised as news”.

But Prime TV director Gerald Shawa told AFP that the authority had issued
the suspension without giving the station the right of reply.

Lungu’s government is facing mounting complaints from the opposition of
authoritarian behaviour.

On February 20, 10 opposition figures said they would report Lungu to the
International Criminal Court in The Hague for allegedly fomenting political
violence against his rivals.

Prime TV, which employs more than 60 journalists and support staff, is one
of the two largest privately-owned stations, along with MUVI-TV.

The authorities also on Monday imposed a two-month suspension on the
Eastern Province-based Valley FM Radio for alleged unprofessional conduct.

BSS/AFP/RY/1920 hrs