—-Government says the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Act mandates the ZNBC Board powers to take legal action if aggrieved by an individual, a group of people or an institution.
And Government has advised ZNBC management and board, media houses, institutions and members of the general public to channel their complaints to the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) besides the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS).
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Joseph Katema, in a ministerial statement issued in Parliament today, said ZNBC staff, management and board is protected through the ZNBC Act.
Dr Katema regretted the incident on behalf of government and advised the public including institutions to pursue other avenues if they want to complain such as his ministry, the IBA or any other relevant public body.
Dr Katema commended ZNBC Board Chairman, John Mulwila, for publicly condemning senior government officials for storming ZNBC Newsroom where ZNBC workers were issued with un-palatables and threatened with dismissals.
Dr Katema, who is also Chief Government Spokesperson, said the media as the fourth estate is the eyes of the people hence Government has embarked on a wide range of measures to reform and reposition the media industry in the country.
The minister reminded journalists in the country to exhibit high levels of professionalism and warned that ethics are non-negotiable.
He appealed to the media personnel to be on high alert on politicians with selfish agendas as political actors compete for leadership during this transition period following the loss of late President, Michael Sata, who died last month in a London hospital.
Dr Katema was, however, at pains to explain to the House on the statement allegedly issued by MIBS Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, who condemned ZNBC Board differing from his on the policy direction on what government would do in the near future on ZNBC as well as people who came in conflict with the law by way of trespassing.
He stated that he would seek audience with the Secretary to Cabinet, Roland Msiska, on the alleged behaviour of his PS and subordinate Officer, Chanda Kasolo.
Over the weekend, Youth and Sports Minister, Chishimba Kambwili and PF Deputy Secretary General, Anthony Kasolo stormed ZNBC newsroom, harassed and ordered Director of News and Current Affairs, Kenneth Maduma, to remove certain news items from the main news bulletin.