Power and Politics

Govt announces plans to regulate online broadcasting services


The government has announced plans to regulate online broadcasting services, such as podcasts which are on the increase.

Chief Government Spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, noted that there was a proliferation of podcasts in Zambia.

In a statement read on his behalf by the Ministry of Information and Media Permanent Secretary, Thabo Kawana, the Minister noted that there was a lack of regulatory framework in this area.

The announcement was made during the presentation of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and ZNBC draft layman’s bill by the technical working group.

“There is a proliferation of podcasts. People are broadcasting online using the podcasts and there seems to be no regulation in that area and it’s good this was taken into consideration under the revised IBA Act,” Mweetwa said.

He added that the IBA Act No. 17 of 2002 had been problematic since its enactment over a decade ago.

Mweetwa noted that there was no legal provision to regulate ZNBC and other State-Owned Broadcasters, which stakeholders had long desired.

“The absence of a legal framework for free-to-air television services. A regulatory gap exists for Online Broadcasting,” he said.

He said there was a need to align legal enforcement with the Digital Migration Policy.

Mweetwa further stated that the rationale for repeal and replacement of the current ZNBC Act was to ensure that it was formally recognized as a Public Service Broadcaster owned and funded by the public.

“Provide a legal framework for other State-Owned Broadcasters like ZANIS, Parliament TV/Radio, establish mechanisms for revenue generation for ZNBC as a Public Service Broadcaster,” the Minister said.

He stated that the government was happy that many aspects previously lacking in the ZNBC and IBA Acts had been addressed.

Mweetwa commended the Technical Working Group for prioritizing stakeholder consultation during the formulation of these layman’s bills.

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“Government is committed to media freedom unlike other previous regimes where ZNBC and other public media were misused for partisan purposes,” he assured

Mweetwa reiterated government’s open-door and inclusive policy, which ensured citizens’ active participation in national affairs.

He said the government’s agenda to grow a free and professional media was bearing fruit through reforms such as the proposed repeal and replacement of the IBA and ZNBC Acts.

“Reforms, including the proposed repeal and replacement of the IBA and ZNBC Acts, aim to create a well-informed populace and foster a free and professional media as well as taking back ZNBC into the hands of its rightful owners, the public,” Mweetwa said.

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