Zambia government switches off TV station, radio
Tuesday August 23 2016
Zambia authorities Monday shut the country's main private television station, Muvi TV, and two radio stations for alleged "misconduct".
But commentators have argued the move is part of the wider crackdown on dissent by the government.
"The Independent Broadcasting Authority Authority (IBA) has revoked the Broadcast Licences of Muvi Television, Komboni Radio* and Itezhi Itezhi Radio for wide and flagrant breach of terms of their licences and for broadcasting material that could cause incitement that might break the peace and security of the country," said a statement issued by the government.
The stations are accused of deliberately breaching the broadcasting standard operating procedure and terms of their licences.
The authority accused the broadcaster of promoting falsehood and impartial news reporting.
Muvi is also cited for airing material not suitable to be classified as adverts.
An advert was regularly shown depicting "murdered and blooded victims". The advert also "highlighted the ruling party Patriotic Front and President Edgar Lungu as the perpetrators," it said.
The regulator further claimed that Itezhi Itezhi and Komboni radio stations have been broadcasting inciting material that could "endanger communities, make communities rise against one another."
The frequencies of the stations have since been withdrawn.
The Zambian law requires broadcasters to appeal the suspension to the minister of information in three months if they were unhappy with the punishment meted but in the absence of a Cabinet it remains unclear when the stations may be reopened.
Zambia’s incumbent leader Edgar Lungu was last week declared winner of the presidential election in which the opposition has disputed the outcome. The president-elect is yet to name his Cabinet.
A few months back, the government shut the privately owned daily The Post over a tax row, a moved which was viewed as excessive and politically motivated.
The paper is still publishing from a secret location.