INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Minister Mwansa Kapeya says Government is currently reviewing the media policy so that community radio stations can start benefitting from Government grants to sustain their operations.
Mr Kapeya has since advised radio stations against being used as a platform to foment disunity in the country.
In a statement broadcast last night on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation radio and television on the eve of the World Radio Day, which falls today, Mr Kapeya said the Government wanted to assist the community radio stations as they operated purely on volunteerism.
He said the Government had since operationalised the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to oversee the licensing regime of radio and television stations.
This is in an effort to ensure that there were no more delays in issuing licences to people who had or wish to apply to set up radio or television stations.
Mr Kapeya said he would soon be announcing the composition of the IBA Board.
He urged all Members of Parliament to set aside funds under the Constituency Development Fund to support the establishment and operations of community radio stations in their constituencies.
He said that would help the Government succeed in facilitating the bridging of the information gap existing between rural and urban areas.
The minister said the Government had also created the Press and media development department at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to further improve the flow of information between rural and urban areas.
He reiterated Government’s commitment to ensuring the growth of radio in the country, which was vital in the national development agenda by being the most accessible communication medium in the country.
Mr Kapeya was happy that Zambia now had more than 70 radio stations and 10
television stations in various categories providing opportunities to communities to access a diversity of information on various issues.
He said the Government had set aside K8.3 million to install FM transmitters to enhance radio reception countrywide.
So far, radio transmitters had been installed in Shangombo, Mulobezi, Chilubi Island, and Shiwang’andu.
“I, however, urge radio stations countrywide to aspire for the highest level of ethical and professional standard in carrying out their work of informing, educating and entertaining the public,” he said.
Mr Kapeya commended UNESCO for the assistance it was giving the media industry, especially those radio stations situated in far-flung areas.
Times of Zambia