The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had strongly condemned the arbitrary suspension of three broadcast stations in Zambia.
Zambia’s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) announced the suspension of the licenses for Muvi TV, the country’s most popular television station, Komboni Radio station and Radio Itezhi Tezhi on 22 August, according to reports. The stations were suspended for alleged “unprofessional conduct” in their election coverage and also accused of posing a risk to peace and security.
“The arbitrary suspension of the three broadcast stations in Zambia is an act of provocation, intimidation and a crude assault on the freedom of expression” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “The media, most especially the private media must be allowed to perform its professional duties as dictated by the ethics of the profession and the public interest, without any form of hindrance or political pressure. Politicians must keep away from trying to control the media. It is unacceptable that the media should be at the receiving end from the dictates of politicians”.
The IFJ is calling on the Zambian Government and the Independent Broadcasting Authority to immediately and unconditionally lift the suspension.
Freedom of expression and the freedom of the press are critical cornerstones in strengthening democracy. Zambia must respect its obligations with regards to the freedom of expression as enshrined by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Zambia is a party to.