The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia is shocked with the suspension of Zambia Union of Broadcasters and other Information Disseminators (ZUBID) General-Secretary, Martin Maseka.
We deem the suspension as a confirmation that the ZNBC board is not operating independently as is supposed to be the case.
This is further evidenced by the Information Minister’s threats to dismiss striking ZNBC workers which has proved our suspicions on the continued interference in the operations of public media in Zambia.
It is for this reason that we have been campaigning for ZNBC to be fully transformed into an effective and sustainable public service broadcaster that lives up to the mandate provided in the ZNBC (amendment) act number 20 of 2002, which we believe was a progressive law before the 2010 amendment.
This amendment returned the power to appoint the ZNBC board back to the minister and consequently means that the minister can direct or order the board to make certain decisions as shown by the minister’s remarks.
MISA demands for the re-instatement of the appointments committee in the ZNBC act.
We therefore demand that government should stay away from interfering in the operations of ZNBC and allow for its independent management. This is the only way the institution will live up to the tenets of a public service broadcaster.
Government should allow ZNBC to operate with the required autonomy even in the editorial mandate which should equitably cover all sectors of society without any impartiality and undue political, government or commercial influence.
MISA demands the reinstatement of Martin Maseka as he was speaking on behalf of the workers. It is important that the worker’s demands are treated with the seriousness and sobriety they deserve as opposed to suspensions and dismissals which will only worsen the situation.
For journalists to adequately perform their duty, it is important that good working conditions are created in order to prevent their independence from being brought into conflict or compromise.
Hellen Mwale-Chairperson-Zambia Chapter, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA