ZNBC not airing concrete programmes regarding digital migration – Malupenga

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INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga has appealed to members of Parliament (MPs) and the media to help sensitise the public on the importance of digital terrestrial migration exercise.

Digital terrestrial is the technological evolution of broadcast and an advancement of analogue version.

Mr Malupenga made an appeal yesterday when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Broadcasting.

He was responding to United Party for National Development (UPND) Mbabala MP Ephraim Belemu who expressed concern at the low level publicity and sensitisation to the public about the digital terrestrial migration.

Mr Malupenga admitted that not a lot of information had been given to the public regarding the importance of digital terrestrial migration which Zambia was expected to adhere to in line with the rest of other countries in the world.

“We appeal to the members of Parliament to help in the sensitisation of the digital migration process. The media also should help to reach out because, come June 2015, the public would not be able to access television services,” he said.

He said it was worrying that the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), the major shareholder in the process was not airing concrete programmes regarding digital migration whose adopted deadline was December 31, this year.

The December deadline is under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and June 17, 2015, under the International  Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Mr Malupenga said Zambia would not meet the adopted deadline by SADC to completely switch over from analogue terrestrial television broadcasting but would definitely meet the ITU target.

Government had set a National Taskforce Team, comprising experts from the public and private institution to help in the migration.

He said the challenges that might hinder the successful switchover included financial constraints, since the programme involved colossal amounts of money.

The acceptance by stakeholders and members of the public to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial television might be another major hindrance.

The other constraint was affordability and availability to set top boxes to end users for them to receive digital terrestrial reception.

Government has this year allocated KR25 million for the digital terrestrial migration exercise.