Zambia: Govt Wants to give private radio stations wider coverage

Regulation & Policy

The Government will soon open up the airwaves to allow private radio stations to expand their radius and cover more regions or the whole nation. Radio stations, including community based media, would be allowed to expand their radius so that information flow could be enhanced.

Information, Broadcasting and Labour Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said the Government was willing to spread media coverage so that Zambians could have information about what was taking place in other parts of the country.

He said community radio stations that were willing to expand their coverage area should start preparing because Government was in the process of putting in place the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). He said a well-informed citizenry would make informed decisions which would in turn help the Government serve them better.

He was speaking in a special programme on Oblate Radio Liseli in Mongu on Sunday in which he talked about media reforms in the country. Malupenga has reassured media practitioners that the Government would not interfere in their operations.
Journalists and other media practitioners, he said, should operate professionally.
Malupenga emphasised on the need to balance stories.

He said the IBA and the Freedom of Information law would be in place before the end of the year to enhance the operations of the media and interaction with the public.

"The new administration is promoting freedom of information and freedom of the Press. So we are encouraging the media to operate professionally," he said.

Mr Malupenga has, however, asked media practitioners not to abuse the freedom they had been granted.

He said the Zambia Information, Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA) had advised that it was possible to open up the airwaves to allow community radio stations expand their radius.

"The media should operate in an environment that gives them latitude to operate professionally using their sense of judgment," he said.

Malupenga has advised private media institutions to motivate their workers by paying them well and providing a conducive environment. The permanent secretary has also commended management at Oblate Radio Liseli for the conducive environment in which it operates. Malupenga visited Radio Lyambai which is also based in Mongu.

The permanent secretary is in Western Province to hand over new equipment to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS).

The ZANIS offices in the province have received computers, indoor and outdoor speakers, amplifiers, microphones and their accessories, DVD players, printers, fax machines and computer tables among others. The equipment, which will benefit all the districts in the province, is worth over K227 million