Pakistan Press Foundation is concerned over the cancellation broadcasting licenses and arrest of journalists in Zambia

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in a letter to Edgar Lungu, President of Zambia expressed concern over the over the cancellation of broadcasting licenses of three media organizations and arrest of four media workers of Muvi TV.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter urged the government of Zambia to return the licenses of Muvi TV, Komboni Radio, and Radio Itezhi Tezhi so the stations can continue with their broadcasting and also drop trespassing charges against John Nyendwa, Mubanga Katyeka, Joe Musakanya, and William Mwenge.

According to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), on August 22 Zambia’s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) revoked the licenses of Muvi TV (the country’s leading private television station) along with two other private stations Komboni Radio and Radio Itezhi Tezhi. All three stations were considered accountable of professional misdemeanor and caused a risk to peace and security of the country before and after the presidential elections of August 11.

The same day police and officials of the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) hold off the control of Muvi TV office in Lusaka and arrested its four workers that includes John Nyendwa, Mubanga Katyeka, Joe Musakanya, and William Mwenge on the charges of criminal trespassing. The police released all of them, but still they are facing trespassing charges.

Milner Katolo, a lawyer for Muvi TV and Komboni Radio said that IBA did not give any explanation for the cancellation of their licenses. According to IBA Amendment Act, it is essential to provide notice of a complaint to the broadcasters and  before suspending their licenses give them an opportunity to answer. He further added that IBA informed him that the broadcasters can present their case on September 14.

IBA chairwoman Josephine Mapoma rejected the accusations that IBA’s actions were illegal or politically aggravated.