Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia have told the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) director Eustace Nkandu that he has no powers to mete out any form of punishment as they were unlawfully operational. This follows the IBA’s demand for an apology from Hot FM for airing a programme where callers discussed the ill health of ailing dictator Michael Sata.
The media body has since directed the radio station to ignore the apology demand since there was no known complainant, adding that the attempts were just aimed at gagging the media. This was after MISA board members led by Chairperson Hellen Mwale visited the embattled radio station today. During a meeting with Station CEO Oscar Chavula, MISA said Hot FM were doing a good job and assured the radio station of unflinching support.
Meanwhile, it has been uncovered that State house Press aide George Chellah using his mobile phone number 0977433580 personally phoned IBA director Eustace Nkandu directing that the body must shut down Hot FM, but Nkandu realized that doing so would be contravening the act. We challenge both Chellah and Nkandu to deny this.
MISA has also written to information minister Dr. Joseph katema reminding him of the unlawful operation of the pro PF IBA, which government wants to be using to gag the media through licences revocations.
Meanwhile Sata whose public appearances have reduced, gave a green light to Zambians to discuss his ailing health as he was an elected President, this follows many months of self denial.