By SIMON MUNTEMBA
DESPITE being the largest opposition political party in the country, the UPND has been blacklisted by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), its Secretary General Batuke Imenda has complained.
Mr Imenda said the national broadcaster only covers the UPND president, Mr Hakainde Hichilema in bad light.
In a letter to Attorney General Likando Kalaluka by his lawyers M Associates, Mr Imenda complained against ZNBC for what he termed as “unfair and unbalanced news coverage towards UPND.”
He said ZNBC’s perennial unfair treatment or coverage of Mr Hichilema and his party was uncalled for.
“Our client’s position is that for a long time, but more so now during this campaign period, the ZNBC never covers the campaign programmes or roadshows of Mr Hakainde Hichilema or the UPND in its news bulletin despite being the largest opposition political party in the country,” part of the letter reads.
He claimed that even adverts and advertorials of UPND are blacklisted by the national broadcaster.
Mr Imenda said, “The only exception to the coverage is when the ZNBC is reporting UPND and its leader in bad light.”
He accused ZNBC of always covering President Edgar Lungu and the PF on news bulletins, taking up all the news time.
Mr Imenda said ZNBC has been in violation of paragraph 7(1) (a) of the Electoral Code of Conduct which states that national print and electronic media “shall provide fair and balanced reporting of campaigns, policies, meetings, rallies and press conferences of all registered political parties and candidates during campaign period.”
He demanded for equal time allocation on ZNBC and other public media organisations.
“It is on the premise of the foregoing, and in furtherance of the directive of the court, that we are instructed to demand of the commission to allocate equal time for all participating political parties in its news bulletin on and of all the ZNBC Radio and Television news platforms during the campaign period,” part of the letter reads.
He said there was no doubt that ZNBC was an electronic media whose responsibility and functions were to serve the public interest as opposed to the government of the day.