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Information ministry tackles misconceptions on planned amendment of IBA Act


Government says the planned amendment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act to cater for online broadcasters will not be used to stifle any kind of freedom.

Chapter One Foundation Executive Director, Linda Kasonde and other stakeholders had raised concern on the planned online regulation under the new IBA Act, saying it was an affront to media freedom and freedom of expression.

Ministry of Information and Media Director for Press and Media Development, Modern Mayembe, clarified that the proposed legislation would only target people offering online broadcasting services.

Mayembe said this during the Zambia National Broadcasting Services’ (ZNBC) Sunday Interview in Lusaka.

He stated that those doing Podcasts and live streaming were not the Ministry’s concern but that they could be held accountable if they offended other laws and not the IBA Act.

“Those doing Podcasts and live streaming could offend other laws but not the IBA Act and as a matter of fact the ministry encourages Podcasts and wants more people do them,” Mayembe said.

He noted that podcast was happening in many countries where even Doctors were using the platform to explain various diseases such as diabetes in short videos.

Read More: Civil society group says planned online regulation under IBA Act, an affront on media freedom (Video)

“But if you are offering a broadcasting service, where you have a schedule like ‘I open my station at 06:00hours and close at midnight and these are the programmes which I have,’ once the law is passed, you should go to IBA to ask for a broadcasting license before you could start doing online broadcasting,” Mayembe said.

He stated that the activities on social media were regulated by the Ministry of Technology and Science through the Cyber Security Act and Cyber Crimes Act.

He claimed that those who had been before the Police or in court because of cyber crimes were being charged under the law that was signed in March 2021 by former president Edgar Lungu.

Mayembe said when Cabinet approves the law that has to do with online broadcasting, the Parliamentary Select Committee would have it published and invite people to make submissions.

“As it is now, it’s a proposal. The ministry has received what the technical group has put together. The Ministry of Information and Media will study it and at a later stage take it to the Ministry of Justice, he added.

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