Zambia threatens to silence community radio station
- Published on 11 September 2012
The Zambian government has threatened to silence a community radio station for allegedly providing a discussion platform about politics.
UNZA is a digital radio station owned by the University of Zambia, and the government has said it could withdraw its radio broadcasting licence, as the sation is allegedly providing a platform for discussing politics rather than helping to educate the youth.
Moreover, the Zambia Information and Communication Technology (ZICTA) has reportedly reduced the radius transmission of UNZA radio station from 1000 watts to 260 watts.
According to the licence provision, the radio station is supposed to operate within a radius of up to 1000 watts.
Amos Malupenga, the ministry of information and broadcasting services permanent secretary, has said the Zambian government is concerned with the radio station's 'non-compliance' with the provision of the broadcast license in its programming.
“We are concerned that the radio station has departed from its original mandate of being a teaching facility to a platform for advancing partisan interests,” Malupenga said.
He adds, “What is going on at UNZA is against ethical requirements of good journalism because as far as we are concerned, UNZA radio is a laboratory station for media training.”
Malupenga, who is said to have summoned UNZA radio management to his office last week, said the station should not be involved in 'rumour mongering, maligning and defaming others and publishing unsubstantiated statements or claims'.
Malupenga said he would not hesitate to close down any radio station that violated deemed provisions of their licences.
UNZA radio was extensively used by Zambian president Michael Sata last year, when he was campaigning for his presidency. The radio station was also used as a campaigning platform by the previous government.
Nalumino Nalumino, vice chairperson, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), said the Zambian government must realise that the country’s constitution provides for freedom of speech because it is a fundamental right.