Kasempa District Commissioner Victor Kayekesi has ordered the police to arrest staff of Kasempa FM, a community radio station in the Northwestern province.
The police have since summoned station manager Nyambe Muyumbana.
The PF government official has also threatened to revoke the license of the community radio station.
According to an SOS issued by the Radio station to Panos, the government is not happy with Kasempa FM’s for broadcasting issues that expose government shortcomings.
Meanwhile, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) says community radio stations are good allies for community empowerment and development in Southern Africa, and need to be supported to for them to effectively play this role.
PSAf Executive Director Lilian Kiefer said her organisation found the role community radios play in community development complementary to the work that PSAf does.
“PSAf believes in the power of community radio stations in improving the lives of the poor and the marginalised communities of our society because they are based in the community where the people are,” said Mrs Kiefer.
“Community radio stations are great ally for PSAf in the achievement of our mission: amplifying voices of the poor and the marginalised to drive their development agenda. We see community radio as a platform that enables local community an opportunity to engage in dialogue on various developmental issues that affect their lives, thereby shaping the developmental discourse towards their needs.
She said the introduction of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) and social media in the day-to-day running of community radio would go a long way in enhancing this role.
Mrs. Kiefer noted that despite the great role they play, community radio stations are limited in achieving their potential to deliver by a number of factors. These include limited financial, human and technical resources, limited access to facilities that would enable them to perform better, and limited access to information on various relevant issues.
Speaking to station managers, news editors, producers, reporters and radio presenters attending a social media and ICT training in Lusaka, Mrs Keifer emphasised the role of PSAf in community media through skills and knowledge building.
“It is with this in mind that PSAf works to support and enhance the capacity of community radio stations to effectively deliver on their responsibilities. The use of various internet tools will enhance the capacity in searching for or verifying information, and also disseminating information and receiving feedback. We hope that this will enhance your ability in delivering your responsibilities to the communities that you serve,” added Mrs. Kiefer.