ZAMBIA is among African countries ranked highly for their liberalised airwaves, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Mwansa Kapeya has said.
Mr Kapeya said with 72 radio and 10 television stations across the country, Zambia was on the right path and would continue focusing on more sustainable investments in the broadcasting industry.
He said this during the launch of Chipata Television in Chipata on Saturday evening.
Mr Kapeya said with the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) in place, the Government was eager to raise investments in the broadcasting sector.
He said this would not only encourage diversity of media services and products, but also generate the much needed employment.
The minister said this was a result of clear, consistent and focused policies of the Government which had placed public access to information at the centre of national development.
Mr Kapeya said the launch of the television station was confirmation of the Government’s policy to open up airwaves for private sector participation in the broadcasting industry.
He, however, said the Government expected all radio and television stations to operate within the provisions of their licences failure to which they would face punitive measures.
The minister urged television stations in the country to concentrate on locally produced films as opposed to focusing on Western material.
He urged the newly-opened television station to aspire for high ethical and professional standards in informing, educating and entertaining the public.
Mr Kapeya said Government was aware that the IBA had stepped up countrywide inspections of radio and television stations to ensure compliance with the law.
The minister said IBA was in the process of developing standards for the electronic media as well as spell out the exact procedures for applying for broadcasting licences in accordance with the IBA Act.Speaking at the same function, IBA director general Josephine Mapoma advised Chipata Television management to seek help from other television stations in the country, including the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
Chipata Television managing director Wilson Phiri praised the Government for granting the television station a broadcasting licence, and pledged to convey information that would satisfy the needs of the local community.