TECHNOLOGICAL advancements are posing as a threat to the broadcast industry in Zambia, says information minister Dora Siliya.
And justice minister Given Lubinda has said technological advancements are overwhelming to people who were born before computers.
During the opening of the Digital Migration Forum at Mulungushi International Conference Center Tuesday, Siliya said technology had disrupted traditional broadcasting tools such as television and other ordinary mass media.
“Today, there has been a lot of disruption, even the traditional terminal, the TV set has been joined by others, you have TV on mobile phones, on computers, on IPads and many others. In fact, it’s not just broadcasting that has been disrupted by technology, I mean the whole media sector has been disrupted by technology,” she noted.
“That’s why today on your mobile phone, it seems to have converged in a manner that the traditional camera is disappearing because it’s on your mobile phone, the computer is on your mobile phone even newspapers now, from back in the days when the Huffington Post was the first online newspaper, today there are quite a number, even in Zambia, our own newspapers are there online.”
Siliya said technological advancements had prompted her ministry to help salvage the media.
“With this we felt in the ministry that we have to think about the future. With this advancement in technology, the convergence of technology, what role are we going to play as government in providing clarity in terms of policy? For a long time we have been talking about a digital migration policy but now, we have migrated so we should be thinking very quickly now about digital broadcasting policy and we still haven’t began doing that, at least as Minister of Information, I am concerned about the kind of regulation and legislation environment we should be providing to balance the needs of the society as well as yourselves the industry players in this sector that we don’t hamper your opportunities to create wealth and to create jobs,” Siliya said.
She added that mobile gadget broadcast also needed to be regulated by the relevant authorities.
“I believe that broadcasting provides a hanging fruit for us in this country to create jobs especially for young people. Now all I hear about is 5G (fifth generation), that provides further regulations and legislation challenges,” said Siliya. “In Zambia for you to broadcast, you get a licence from IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority), but if a mobile company can be broadcasting on the mobile phone, who is issuing that licence? Is it ZICTA then? These are the issues we have to harmonise in the sector. We really want to hear from you the industry on how we can go about on these issues.”
Meanwhile, Lubinda complained that technology had posed a curse to him because of the ease of access to information by the general public.
“For those of us who were unfortunately born before computers, I want to say on behalf of all those born before computers, that we are very overwhelmed at the rate at which technology is running. And technology is both a blessing and a curse and it depends on how you position yourselves. As I stand technological advancement has proved to be a curse for me, a curse because the things I knew which I thought others did not know, when I stand to tell them, they simply google and tell me even more,” Lubinda said.
“This has become a challenge for me, at a national level, technological advancements have created even bigger challenges. How do we safeguard society against those who are extremely enterprising and innovative such that they end up using technology more than they should especially in the conflict with the interest of others?”
He added that there was need to come up with regulations or the sector might become a curse to all users.
“Unless we prepare ourselves in advance and come up with legislation that supports the growth of this sector, and we come up with legislation that ensures that society is protected from the apparent abuse of technological advancement, we may end up in a situation where what everyone else is looking at as a blessing becomes but only a curse for our society,” said Lubinda.
“How many people in Zambia today are not capable of protecting their privacy because of lack of legislation… in coming up with any programmes that impact on society, we shall not leave anyone behind. You are the forerunners in this process.”