Zambia: Government to sell 35% public media shares

Investment

Vice-President Guy Scott has said the Government will soon float 35 per cent shares of each of the three public media institutions to the public on the stock exchange market. Dr Scott said in Parliament that the Government was engaging the public media to see how the programme would go. This may yet set a trend for the disposal of Government holdings elsewhere.

He said this in response to a question by Itezhi Tezhi Member of Parliament Geoffrey Moonde (UPND) who wanted to know when privatisation of the public media would be effected as per campaign promise of the Patriotic Front (PF). This was during the vice-president’s question time in the House.

When the floating of shares is implemented, it would mark a major policy shift in operations of the public media since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in Zambia in 1991.

The PF administration promised major changes to operations of the public media to depart from the dominance of the previous government on the institutions.

And Information Minister Given Lubinda on Thursday said measures were underway to reposition the three public media institutions to make them operate as truly public media. Lubinda said the Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) would no longer be a monopoly of the ruling Government.

“Since coming into Government a month ago, as many of you have seen, Government has taken landmark policy decisions to free the public media institutions from political patronage so that they can inform, entertain and educate the public ethically and professionally,” he said.

He said this in Masaiti during the burial of Mission Press director Fr. Miha Drevensek. The minister said Zambians would experience freedom of expression through the public media unlike in the past when people were not given a platform to express themselves on many national issues.

“The news content in the three public media institutions is no longer a monopoly for the Government and it shall continue to be like this because the public are now enjoying the information that the three media institutions are now running,” Mr Lubinda said.