By SIMON MUNTEMBA
THE Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has refuted assertions that it was directed by the incoming UPND government to issue a broadcasting licence to Prime Television. IBA Director General Josephine Mapoma said the board acted independently when it granted Prime Television a broadcasting licence and at no point did they receive any instructions to open the station.
Ms Mapoma explained that Prime Television’s previous licence became void following its cancellation by the board of the IBA on April 9, 2020 pursuant to section 29 (1) (j) (k) of the IBA Amendment Act no. 26 of 2010. She said the licensing process was recently concluded and Prime Television was among the five new stations that met the requirements and were all subsequently awarded content service provider licences. “Therefore, there is nothing irregular about the authority awarding Prime Television a licence in August, 2021,” Ms Mapoma said in a statement.
Ms Mapoma also said the decision of the board was upheld by the Minister of Information Dora Siliya in accordance with section 31 of the IBA (Amendment) Act no. 26 of 2010 and that prime TV applied for a new licence following the advertisement in the press inviting applications for radio and television licences. She assured the nation that the IBA had a rigorous process of awarding and suspending or cancelling broadcasting licences and this is done autonomously. Ms Mapoma said the IBA remains hopeful that Prime TV would conduct itself professionally and avoid any pitfalls that may put its licence in jeopardy.