The Zambian government on Monday denied claims by the country’s leading opposition leader that it was using a body created to regulate the media to silence vocal media houses.
Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), urged the government to stop intimidating media outlets.
This follows the summoning of the proprietor of a private television station, Prime Television, by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), to appear before its licensing committee over alleged abrogation of broadcasting laws.
The opposition leader asked the regulator not to be used by the ruling party to intimidate media houses.
Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga said the government finds the sentiments by the opposition leader misplaced.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Hichilema is interfering in the work of an independent body created by the people of Zambia,” he said. “It is hypocritical that Mr. Hichilema is accusing government of muzzling the media when, to the contrary, he is the one clearly interfering in the work of the IBA.”
She said the television station has been summoned to appear before the regulatory body and that the action was not illegal and wondered why politicians could start meddling in the matter even before the outcome of the meeting was known.
According to her, the regulator was established to ensure that the electronic media adhered to their license rules. Enditem