Private media owners lament increasing burnden of doing business, seek govt support


The Media Owners Association of Zambia (MOAZ) has highlighted several challenges impacting the growth of the media industry in the country.

Costa Mwansa, president of MOAZ, stated that the absence of business incentives such as tax rebates for investors in the news media industry hindered investment and growth in the sector.

In a statement commemorating World Press Freedom Day, Mwansa emphasized the need for financial incentives to enable media houses to expand their operations, innovate, and adapt to the evolving media landscape.

He noted that without adequate government support, the media sector continued to struggle to fulfill its essential role in society.

“Additionally, the high cost of doing business, exacerbated by challenges such as load shedding and fuel price hikes, pose significant obstacles to media operations in Zambia,” Mwansa added.

“Despite the critical role that media plays in disseminating information to the public, many media houses struggle to secure advertising revenue from government agencies,” Mwansa said.

He alluded to the fact that this was despite the commitment and promises made by the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) and its leadership ahead of the 2021 election to provide a fair share of government support towards private media.

Mwansa stated that this move undermined the financial sustainability of media organizations, leaving them vulnerable to manipulation and abuse.

“Moreover, recent increases in fuel prices have exacerbated the financial burden on media organizations, making it increasingly challenging to sustain their operations,” he said.

Mwansa cited another critical issue facing the media sector as the government’s failure to effectively implement the Access to Information Law.

He accused the Ministry of Information and Media of failing to issue the necessary statutory instrument despite its enactment.

Read More: Information ministry speaks on move to establish self-regulation in media industry

“This lack of implementation means the status quo on Access to Information remains the same, as citizens are not able to benefit from it,” Mwansa said.

He pointed out that Zambia Revenue Authority’s rigid tax remittance requirement on invoices that had not been paid on time by media buyers imposed additional financial burdens on media organizations.

Mwansa said these requirements created cash flow challenges and administrative burdens, as media houses were made to remit taxes on transactions that had not yet been paid for.

“MOAZ is committed to promoting a free, independent, and sustainable media industry in Zambia but seeks support from the government in resolving the outlined challenges,” he said.

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