THE opposition Democratic Party has called on Zambians to return TopStar decoders following the removal of privately-owned Prime TV.
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley hopes a solution can be found for Prime TV to revert on the TopStar platform.
And TopStar Communication Company Limited senior management on Monday locked themselves in their offices after United Party for National Development National chairlady Namakau Kabwiku returned two company decoders in protest against the removal of Prime TV from its platform.
DP spokesperson Judith Kabemba, in a statement, said Prime TV was for Zambians.
The removal of Prime TV from the TopStar decoder is a reaction to information minister Dora Siliya’s indication that the government had ceased cooperation with the TV station.
TopStar is a joint project of ZNBC and a Chinese firm, Star Times.
Kabemba stated that Zambians must stand up for Prime TV, unlike continuing to watch the government to intimidate and kill media and businesses, in preference to “PF Chinese businesses.”
She accused the PF government of attempting to kill Prime TV in order to: “shut the opposition and Zambians from hearing the truth in view of 2021 general elections.”
“We are therefore appealing to all good loving Zambians to join in condemning this act taken by TopStar, masterminded by government. We need to realise that if we allow government [to] destroy Prime TV, we Zambians will have no voice nor platform to be heard from,” stated Kabemba.
“Our fellow Zambians let us say no to such acts of dictatorship. In this regard, let us return TopStar decoders because Zambia borrowed $278 million to put up TopStar which is coming from China and we shall need to pay back that money using taxpayers’ money. Call us on the following numbers to return the TopStar decoders. 0967-782 819, 0977-414 274, 0977-793 497 [and] 0977-861 292.”
And on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday night, High Commissioner Woolley said: “I hope a solution can be found to this important issue.”
He said relating to the COVID-19, media houses continue to play a role in supporting the response through communicating messages.
“[They] share information about what is going on, to sensitise populations the measures authorities are introducing the world-over. This programme (Oxygen of Democracy) has allowed some of that to happen to a broad audience and I hope a solution can be found to ensure that the audience remains as broad as possible,” said High Commissioner Woolley when asked about the removal of Prime TV from the TopStar decoder.
Meanwhile, Kabwiku arrived at Topstar Head Office on Great East Road and went straight to customer care department where she identified herself and explained why she was returning the decoders.
She was then directed to go to the marketing department on the Fourth Floor where a receptionist intercepted her before entering.
Kabwiku demanded to see the marketing manager or the chief executive officer who signed the letter that confirmed the removal of Prine Television from their system, saying she wanted her refund for the two decoders.
She said the only reason she had the two decoders was because of Prime Television which was giving the whole country balanced coverage of all issues in the country.
The receptionist told her she would take the message and the two decoders to management but instead returned after 10 minutes explaining that she could not see the people she wanted to.
As the receptionist came out, the office was locked from inside.
Kabwiku later told journalists to work together and support other media organisations saying that if they don’t stand together, organisations they work for would be the next victims.
“Today you might think you are safe. They started with The Post Newspapers and now they have gone for the Prime Television using the Chinese, next it will be you,” lamented Kabwiku.
She appealed to all Zambians who were not happy with the move to remove Prime Television from the Topstar system to surrender their decoders and demand refunds in protest against the move.