State house moves to stop Hot Fm radio and arrest staff

State house moves to stop Hot Fm radio and arrest staff

MZN 001 (3)Plans to arrest popular Hot FM breakfast show hosts Hope & Chi and close down one of Lusaka’s popular commercial radio stations have been exposed.
Sources from Lusaka Central Police Station and State House have revealed that President Sata’s Press Aide George Chellah is behind the scheme to shut down Hot FM.
The sources disclosed that Chellah has since instructed two officers from the Criminal Investigations Unit at Central Police to investigate Hot FM and the two popular presenters in an effort to find something incriminating about them.
The planned arrest of the popular duo has to do with a story regarding President Sata’s reported evacuation on which Chellah was quoted refuting the story.
In the story aired on Tuesday, May 27 2014 on its breakfast news, Hot FM reported that State House had refuted that President Sata had been evacuated on Sunday after he fell ill.
In the clip to the story, Chellah could be heard saying the evacuation story was not true and that President Sata was well.
Hot FM went ahead and ran the story and aired Chellah voice refuting the story.
But since Tuesday, plain clothed police officers have frequented Hot FM a number of occasions and summoned Hot FM Chief Executive Officer Zach Chavula regarding the story.
The officers have also obtained statements from Hope, the Programmes Manager and a Reporter who authored the story.
But sources from the Police Service and State House say the scheme to arrest Hope & Chi is part to Chellah grand scheme to close down Hot FM.
They said Hope & Chi including the Programmes Manager and a Reporter were supposed to be arrested last Friday and lock them up the entire weekend.
“As you might be aware, they were looking for Hope & Chi from Friday and they could not just locate them. This Monday morning, the officers camped at Hot FM as Hope & Chi were doing their Red Hot Breakfast Show and again interrogated the duo,” the source said.
MZN 002MZN 003“Chellah has vowed to shut down Hot FM before he leaves State House. He feels the station has failed to play by his rules and the best thing to do is eliminate it completely from the scene,” the source added.


And Hot FM Chief Operations Officer Oscar Chavula confirmed that police officers have been frequenting the radio station from last week and getting different statements from employees.
“Clearly, this borders on intimidation, they are set on harassing us with the hope that we will cow down and start singing their praises but they are mistaken. The President himself has said people are free to debate his health and the story we ran had no ethical issues,” Mr Chavula said.
“Even this morning, the breakfast show crew was literally broadcasting under lock them, the officers were waiting to interrogate them just as they finish their shows. This is unacceptable and goes against the tenets of free press.”
And a letter signed by Acting Independent Broadcasting Authority Acting Director General Eustace Nkandu dated May 29 2014 directed Hot FM management to apologise during the same breakfast show and all prime time programmes for the next one week.
“From our findings we deemed the contents of the show unethical and inappropriate. Discussions of health status ate personal issues and should not be discussed in the public domain regardless of the social standing of the individual,” the letter read.
“The letter of apology to State House is required to enable the complainant know that the compliant has been dealt with as pursuant to Section 36 (3) which provides that the Authority shall notify the complainant of the results of such an investigation.”
But Hot FM management wrote to IBA seeking clarity on the nature of the complaint and the complainant in particular.
In a letter written by Hot FM Station Manager Rodgers Twala, Hot FM requested asked the IBA to state the exact words which were deemed offensive and requiring retraction.
“The complainant (State House) is too general and is not a legal person, further, as a Station, we are concerned that we have not been given an opportunity to be heard and yet clearly we have already been sanctioned by the Independent Broadcasting Authority which we find very unusual,” the letter read.

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