NEWLY appointed Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) board chairperson Mabel Mung’omba has warned broadcasting stations to adhere to licencing conditions, including payment of annual operating fees.
Speaking when she toured radio stations in Southern Province, Mung’omba reminded stations that the deadline for payment of fees was January 1 of every year.
She advised that Section 19(1) of the IBA Act (Amendment) No 26 of 2010 prohibits the provision of broadcasting services without a broadcasting licence.
Mung’omba encouraged all stations to ensure that they apply for renewal of their licences at least six months before the end of the licence lifespan.
She encouraged stations to continuously read the Act so that they are not found wanting by the authority.
And Mung’omba advised broadcasting stations about her expectations from them.
She encouraged the stations to continue playing the COVID-19 messages, as these continue to play a major role in mitigating the spread of the pandemic.
Mung’omba further called on the business community not to relent in supporting the stations, especially in the new normal.
She said the IBA requires all stations to broadcast content that meets the highest ethical and professional journalism standards.
Mung’omba advised broadcasting stations to employ qualified personnel.
She urged media houses to invest in capacity building for their staff.
For those stations that had not yet developed the Code of Professional Standards, she encouraged them to develop the same immediately, display them at their premises, as well as deposit them with the authority.
“It is important for you to have a Code of Professional Standards, which you can create based on the minimum requirements provided in the IBA Act, such as respect for human dignity, protection of the integrity of minors, comprehensive unbiased and independent news broadcasts, observance of the procedures for correcting factual errors, redressing unfairness and the principle of the right to reply. To promote a pluralistic broadcasting industry in Zambia through fair, transparent and effective regulation guidelines form the basis upon which the public can complain against your broadcasts. In the same vein, when there is a complaint, it is the same guidelines that can protect you, in case of frivolous complaints,” she said.
Mung’omba took the opportunity to emphasise that the broadcasting industry was a sensitive sector, therefore all stations should adequate secure their premises.
She told station managers to engage relevant protective wings to provide added security as and when needed.
Mung’omba further advised all stations that it was not only instructed by law, but also good practice to open themselves up for scrutiny via a feedback process of the complaints procedure.
She advised that one of the ways stations could know how they were servicing their audience was to allow people to exercise their right to complain, if the public thought that the Code of Professional Standards was broken.
“Please, develop announcements that you can air several times in a day to encourage your listeners to open up to you if they feel that your Code of Professional Standards has been breached,” she said.
Mung’omba and seven others were appointed by information and broadcasting services minister Dora Siliya to serve on the IBA Board.
Others include vice-chairperson Chalimba Phiri, Amos Malupenga, Sr Beatrice Mwansa, Claire Limbwambwa, Margaret Siwale, Enita Hamatumbika and Clement Ng’andu.
This is according to a statement issued by IBA director general/board secretary Josephine Mapoma.