ENTREPRENEURS and retired media practitioners should take advantage of government policy to liberate the airwaves and set up radio stations and newspapers, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Amos Malupenga has said.
Mr Malupenga challenged retired journalists to help restore the integrity and sanctity of their profession by educating younger journalists about the importance of the fourth estate.
He said this in a speech read for him by ministry of information acting director of planning, press and public relations Beaton Kazuba at the 10th anniversary celebrations of Breeze FM in Chipata on Thursday.
Mr Malupenga commended Breeze FM proprietor Mike Daka for setting an example by investing his retirement package in the media industry.
“Government is happy that Breeze FM has been able to not only provide information to the people of Eastern Province, who previously had little access to information, but has also created a platform for Government to explain its polices,” he said.
He said the Ministry is determined to continue strengthening its policy of opening up the airwaves to enhance the dissemination of information on various issues of public interest.
However, he noted that unlike Breeze FM, which has also assisted to provide employment to 30 people on full-time basis, some players in the industry are publishing malicious, defamatory and false stories about private citizens and Government in general.
Mr Malupenga said some players in the media have now become experts at reporting rumours.
He observed that professional journalism is being deliberately ignored, adding that this is not the type of press freedom Government is promoting.
Earlier, Mr Daka commended the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for granting the station an extension permit to cover the entire province.
Mr Daka said he quit his position as director and chief executive at Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) and sold a family house to set up Breeze FM radio in Chipata.
In the past 10 years, Breeze FM has achieved geographical expansion programme worth US$200,000, which enabled the station to establish four relay stations at Mphangwe Hill in Katete, in Petauke, at Mponda on the Chipata-Lundazi road and Lupeta Hill in Lundazi.
On the challenges, Mr Daka said 70 percent of advertisements and programmes were being financed outside the country while 30 percent is revenue from local resources.
Mr Daka said despite some financial challenges, Breeze FM is one of the most effective and successful radio stations in Zambia, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African continent.