Public broAdcAsting in AfricA series

Zambia
A survey by the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) Open Society Initiative Southern Africa (OSISA) Open Society Institute Media Program (OSIMP)

AN OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS PUBLICATION

Copyright © 2010, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Written by: Chris H Chirwa (researcher), Jeanette Minnie (regional editor) and Hendrik Bussiek (editor-in-chief) Published by: Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa ISBN: 978-1-920355-97-5 For more information contact: AfriMAP / Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa President Place 1 Hood Ave/148 Jan Smuts Ave Rosebank South Africa P.O. Box 678 Johannesburg South Africa www.afrimap.org www.osisa.org Layout and printing: COMPRESS.dsl, South Africa

Contents
Acronyms Foreword Introduction v vii ix

1

Country Facts
1 2 3 4 5 Government Basic socio-economic data Main challenges The media landscape Brief history of broadcasting

1
1 4 6 8 11

2

Media Legislation and Regulation
1 2 3 4 5 6 International, continental and regional standards The Constitution of Zambia General media laws and regulations Other laws with an impact on media and freedom of expression Jurisprudence Conclusions and recommendations

15
15 20 25 28 34 36

3

The Broadcasting Landscape
1 2 3 4 5 6 The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Commercial/private broadcasters Community and religious broadcasting services Technical standard and accessibility of services Concentration of media ownership Conclusions and recommendations

41
41 41 45 49 51 52

4

Digitalisation and its Impact
1 2 3 4 Preparedness for the switch-over Convergence Increased competition Conclusions and recommendations

55
56 57 58 58

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5

Broadcasting Legislation and Regulation
1 2 3 4 The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Licensing of broadcasters and enforcement of licence conditions Complaints and conflict resolution systems Conclusions and recommendations

61
61 64 66 67

6

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation
1 2 3 4 5 Legislation Profile of the ZNBC Organisational structures Attitudes towards public broadcasting within the ZNBC Conclusions and recommendations

69
69 72 73 75 77

7

Funding of the ZNBC
1 2 3 Main sources of funding Spending Conclusions and recommendations

79
79 82 84

8

Programming
1 2 3 4 5 6 Programme policies and guidelines Programme schedules News and current affairs Comparison of public interest programming Feedback and complaints procedures Conclusions and recommendations

87
87 91 96 100 102 103

9

Broadcasting Reform Efforts
1 2 3 4 Perceptions of ZNBC Current reform efforts Future of public service broadcasting Conclusions and recommendations

105
105 108 111 112

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Overall Conclusions and Recommendations

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v

Acronyms
ACHPR ANC AU BBC CBA COMESA CRC DW FODEP FOI FPPS IBA ICCPR IMF ISP ITU K MECOZ MIBS MISA MMD MRC NAC NCC NGO OAU OSISA PAZA PF RFI SADC STB TIZ UPND UN UNESCO African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights African National Congress African Union British Broadcasting Corporation Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Constitutional Review Commission Deutsche Welle Foundation for Democratic Process Freedom of Information first-past-the-post system Independent Broadcasting Authority International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights International Monetary Fund internet services provider International Telecommunications Union Kwacha (Zambian currency) Media Council of Zambia Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Media Institute of Southern Africa Movement for Multi-party Democracy Media Reform Committee National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council National Constitutional Conference non-governmental organisation Organisation of African Unity Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa Press Association of Zambia Patriotic Front Radio France International Southern African Development Community set-top boxes Transparency International Zambia United Party for National Development United Nations United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

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UNIP UNZA UNZA FM ZaCoMeF ZAMCOM ZAMEC ZAMTEL ZAMWA ZANIS ZBC ZBS ZEC ZICTA ZNBC ZUJ

United National Independence Party University of Zambia University of Zambia Radio Zambia Community Media Forum Zambia Institute of Mass Communication Zambia Media Council Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited Zambia Media Women’s Association Zambia News and Information Services Zambia Broadcasting Corporation Zambia Broadcasting Service Zambia Episcopal Conference Zambia Information and Communication Technologies Authority Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Zambia Union of Journalists

Foreword

The report is the result of research that started in 2008 with the aim of collecting, collating and writing up information about regulation, ownership, access, performance as well as prospects for public service broadcasting reform in Africa. The Zambia report is part of an eleven-country survey of African broadcast media. The main reason for conducting the research is to contribute to Africa’s democratic consolidation. Many African countries have made significant gains in building democratic systems of governance that are based on popular control of decision-making and in which citizens are treated as equals. Availability and access to information by a greater number of citizens is a critical part of a functioning democracy and a country’s development. The role of a public service broadcaster as a vehicle through which objective information and diverse perspectives are transmitted into the public domain cannot be overstated. A number of countries are currently undertaking public service broadcasting reforms that aim to improve service delivery and accountability to citizens. Such reforms draw from evolving African and global standards regarding media and broadcast media in particular. The survey instrument that was developed in consultation with African media experts and others from other parts of the world is largely based on agreements, conventions, charters and declarations regarding media that have been developed at regional and continental levels in Africa. The survey of broadcast media in Africa was initiated by two projects of the Open Society Institute (OSI), the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) and the Open Society Institute Media Program, working with the African members of the Soros Foundation Network – in Southern Africa, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). The research was carried out by Chris H. Chirwa, a media and management consultant. The report was co-edited by Jeanette Minnie, an international freedom of expression and media consultant, as regional editor, and the editor-in-chief of the project, Hendrik Bussiek, a media consultant with extensive broadcasting experience in Africa and globally.

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It is our hope that the research will clear some of the misconceptions about public service broadcasters. In its simplest definition a ‘public service broadcasting service’ is a broadcaster that serves the public as a whole and is accountable to the public as a whole. Yet in most instances what is referred to as a public broadcaster is in fact a state broadcaster. This research aims to help the process of aiding the transformation of Africa’s public service broadcasters into media worthy of the name. Ozias Tungwarara Director, AfriMAP

Introduction

The survey on public service broadcasting in Africa starts from the premise that development and democracy cannot thrive without open and free public space where all issues concerning people’s lives can be aired and debated and which gives them room and opportunity to participate in decision-making. Nobel Prize laureate Amartya Sen describes democracy as ‘governance by dialogue’ and broadcasters are ideally placed to facilitate this dialogue by providing the space for it – if their services are accessible, independent, credible and open to the full spectrum of diverse views. Following from this premise, the key objective of the survey is to assess whether and to what extent the various forms of broadcasting on our continent can and do create such a free public space, with special attention given to those services which call themselves ‘public’. A total of eleven country reports look closely at the current status of broadcasting in Benin, Cameroon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. While this survey may be unprecedented in its scope and depth, it does feed into ongoing discussions among broadcasters, civil society and politicians in Africa on the nature and mandate of genuine public service broadcasting. Reform efforts are under way in a number of countries. And at least on paper there is already broad consensus on the need to open up the airwaves to commercial and community broadcasters and for state broadcasters to be transformed into truly public service broadcasting services. The Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa adopted by the African Union’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2002, for example, says ‘a State monopoly over broadcasting is not compatible with the right to freedom of expression’ and demands that ‘state and government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into public service broadcasters accountable to the public’. This document and other regional policy declarations serve as major benchmarks for this survey. In particular, these African documents inform the vision and mandate of public

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service broadcasting as understood in this study.1 This vision can be summarised as follows: • to serve the overall public interest and be accountable to all strata of society as represented by an independent board; • to ensure full respect for freedom of expression, promote the free flow of information and ideas, assist people to make informed decisions and facilitate and strengthen democracy. The public service broadcasters’ mandate is: • to provide access to a wide range of information and ideas from the various sectors of society; • to report on news and current affairs in a way which is not influenced by political, commercial or other special interests and therefore comprehensive, fair and balanced (editorial independence); • to contribute to economic, social and cultural development in Africa by providing a credible forum for democratic debate on how to meet common challenges; • to hold those in power in every sector of society accountable; • to empower and inspire citizens, especially the poor and marginalised, in their quest to improve the quality of their lives; • to provide credible and varied programming for all interests, those of the general public as well as minority audiences, irrespective of religious beliefs, political persuasion, culture, race and gender; • to reflect, as comprehensively as possible, the range of opinions on matters of public interest and of social, political, philosophical, religious, scientific and artistic trends; • to promote the principles of free speech and expression as well as of free access to communication by enabling all citizens, regardless of their social status, to communicate freely on the airwaves; • to promote and develop local content, for example through adherence to minimum quotas; • to provide universal access to their services, with their signal seeking to reach all corners of the country.
1 Apart from the African Commission’s Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, these are the African Charter on Broadcasting 2001 as well as the 1995 policy document ‘On The Move’ and 2007 draft policy paper ‘Now is the Time’ by the Southern African Broadcasting Association, in which state/public service broadcasters in southern Africa commit themselves to the aim of public service broadcasting.

INTRODUCTION

Other broadcasting services can – in one way or the other – also fulfill aspects of this mandate, and the survey, therefore, looks at them as well in order to assess their contribution to the creation of a public space. The facts, figures and informed assessments presented in the survey will, it is hoped, provide a nuanced picture of where broadcasting in Africa at present stands between ‘His Master’s Voice’ of old and the envisaged public service broadcasting service of the future. This information should provide a sound basis for advocacy work, both among decision-makers and civil society as a whole. The report starts out with a comprehensive audit of existing media laws and other legislation with an impact on freedom of expression and a critical in-depth assessment of the legal and regulatory framework in which broadcasting presently operates. This is followed by a detailed study of the state broadcaster – its organisation, its finances, its policies, the content it offers. At the end of July 2010 a draft report was publicly presented at a round table meeting in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, attended by participants from public and private broadcasting stations, media associations and other civil society organisations. Participants discussed the findings, corrected assumptions and errors, debated and endorsed conclusions and recommendations and made a number of additions which, together with information provided in some written submissions, were incorporated into the final version. Researchers and editors would like to express their gratitude to all those who contributed by sharing their information and insights and providing valuable feedback and constructive criticism. Hendrik Bussiek

1
Country Facts

Zambia gained independence from Britain in October 1964 as a result of elections a year earlier, in which the United National Independence Party (UNIP) won 55 of the 65 parliamentary seats with the rest going to the African National Congress (ANC). The UNIP formed the first government under the presidency of Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Over the following years rival political parties established as break-away groups from the UNIP were banned, citing as reasons tribalism and violence resulting in deaths of citizens. At the beginning of 1973 Kaunda formally introduced a one-party state, ostensibly to enhance national unity and promote economic development. Zambians became increasingly disgruntled and their protests culminated in coup attempts in 1980 and 1990 as well as food riots in 1986 and 1990, following increases in the price of maize meal, the staple food of Zambians. To restore peace, Kaunda agreed that the Constitution be amended in order to re-introduce multi-party politics and called general elections for October 1991. The newly formed Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), under Frederick J.T. Chiluba, won the majority of parliamentary seats and so removed the former ruling party and its leader Kaunda from power.

1

Government

Zambia is a multi-party democratic sovereign state. The Constitution of Zambia provides for the holding of presidential, parliamentary and local government elections at least once every five years, using the first-past-the-post system (FPPS). Zambia is divided into geographical areas known as constituencies or wards, and voters in each constituency or ward return one member of parliament and one local government

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councillor, respectively, by a simple majority of votes.2 The president, members of parliament and local councillors are elected on the same day. Every Zambian citizen over the age of 18 qualifies to register as a voter and to vote. An ‘autonomous’ Electoral Commission of Zambia, so defined by Article 76(1) of the Constitution, is responsible for the delimitation of electoral boundaries, i.e. local council wards and parliamentary constituencies, for supervising the registration of voters, conducting elections and releasing the election results. The autonomy of the Electoral Commission has, however, generated considerable debate because of the mode of appointment of commissioners. Currently the president appoints the members of the commission subject to ratification by the National Assembly. There is a general perception that the Commission is biased towards the ruling party, that it is not truly independent and not sufficiently insulated from interference by the executive and other political players, and that it does not have the capacity to withstand government pressure. It is consequently not trusted by opposition political parties and non-governmental organisations.3 Results of the September 2006 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections showed that a newly formed Patriotic Front (PF) recorded dramatic successes in four (out of nine) provinces, mainly at the expense of the ruling party, the MMD. The MMD, for its part, almost completely wiped out the UNIP in its former stronghold, the Eastern Province. The United Party for National Development (UPND) maintained its hold on the southern parts of Zambia, as in the previous elections of 2001. The fluidity of this scenario suggests that voters in Zambia have become much more selective and, given a wider choice, that their support can no longer be taken for granted by the ruling party (the MMD). It also shows that voters are increasingly turning their backs on the former (one-party state) ruling party (the UNIP). There is now much more democratic contestation for political power than in the past. At the same time a review of voting patterns over the last 40 odd years reveals that long-lasting support for a party in power remains a feature of Zambia’s political landscape. In the first decades after independence the UNIP was loyally supported in election after election. After 1990 there was a massive shift towards the MMD, such that the party has won the majority of parliamentary as well as presidential elections since 1991. Frederick Chiluba served two full terms as Republican President until 2001; his successor Levy P. Mwanawasa was also re-elected and served from January 2002 to 19 August 2008 when he died in office, and Rupiah B. Banda has been in office since 2 November 2008.
2 3 Republic of Zambia. Final Report of the Electoral Reform Technical Committee appointed to Review the Electoral System in Zambia, August 2005, p. 168. Ibid., pp. 485–486.

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The power of the ruling party is further strengthened by the right of the president to appoint eight non-elected members to parliament. After the 2006 elections President Mwanawasa included all of these eight parliamentary nominees in his cabinet, one of them as vice-president – who also serves as the leader of the house. Among the party’s members of parliament at present are no less than 23 cabinet ministers and 34 deputy ministers. Thus, out of the 84 parliamentarians of the ruling party, 57 are simultaneously members of the executive. Table 1:
Party MMD PF UPND Others Independent

Political parties and their parliamentary seats
elected MPs 76 42 22 7 3 nominated 8 – – – –

Total
Source: National Assembly of Zambia, 9 October 2008

150

8

The country has an executive president who is head of state and government and also commander-in-chief of the defence forces. The president is elected by direct universal adult suffrage through a secret ballot. He appoints the vice-president and cabinet ministers from among the members of parliament. The president also makes appointments to constitutional posts such as that of chief justice, deputy chief justice, Supreme and High Court judges, attorney-general, solicitor-general, director of public prosecutions and auditor-general; all these appointments are subject to ratification by parliament. There have been cases when parliament has refused to ratify appointments recommended by the president. In 2003 it refused to ratify the appointment of a director of public prosecutions until the president nominated a suitable replacement. Although the Constitution does not expressly stipulate the doctrine of separation of powers, in practice Zambia espouses such separation through the three arms of government, namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. However, as an official publication by parliament explains, this separation of powers needs to be understood in context:
… the concept of separation of powers is not absolute. For example, by the inherent nature of Zambia’s parliamentary system, the President who is the head of the

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Executive is a constituent part of the legislature and has to assent to bills before they become law. Furthermore, Cabinet Ministers and their Deputies are Members of Parliament and, generally, legislation is initiated by Cabinet Ministers who constitute the Executive. The Constitution, however, makes the Executive collectively accountable to Parliament. As regards the relationship between Parliament and the Judiciary, the separation of powers is larger, but still, not absolute. In interpreting the law, courts do, in fact, make laws. This is because, in many cases, the application of the existing law may not provide an answer to the question confronting the court … 4

2

Basic socio-economic data

Table 2: Population and economic data56789
Population Adult literacy life expectancy Main languages (% distribution among the population) 12 160 516 (projected in 2000 Census) National average growth rate: 2.5 % Male 78%, female 685 51.3 years6 Official language: English (used by 26.3% countrywide)7 Main Zambian languages: Bemba (30.1%), Kaonde (2.0%), Lozi (5.7%), Lunda (2.2%), Luvale (1.7%), Nyanja (10.7%) and Tonga (10.6%) Traditional beliefs (56%), Christianity (43%) and others (1%) US $770 (estimated 2008)8 16.6% (2008)9

religions (%) gdP per capita Annual inflation

At the time of independence in 1964, and for a short period afterwards, the government maintained a free market economy. The decision to introduce economic reform measures from 1968 resulted in the nationalisation of many hitherto profit-making
4 5 6 7 8 9 Republic of Zambia. National Assembly of Zambia, The Parliament of Zambia – A Brief Account of Its Structure and Activities, 2001, p. 23. Central Statistical Office, Zambia, 2000 Census of Population and Housing, November 2003. Projected figure provided by the Monthly Central Statistical Office Newsletter, Vol. 69 of December 2008. The last official figure in the 2000 Census was 52.7 years. 2000 Census, op.cit, p. 46. The Monthly Central Statistical Office Newsletter, Volume 69, December 2008, p. 19. Ibid., p. 2.

COUNTRY FACTS

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private companies, thereby creating a parastatal sector that at its peak constituted as much as 80 per cent of Zambia’s economy.10 With rising oil and falling metal prices on the international market in the early 1970s, the country’s export earnings dropped. Zambia experienced a crisis in the balance of payments which could only be alleviated through external borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), among others. By 1990, faced with pressures from the IMF over its socialist and commandist economic policies, the government was forced to end price controls, devalue the local currency Kwacha, abolish subsidies on basic foodstuffs, and opt for the privatisation of mines and companies in which it held controlling shares. The Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) came into power on the platform of market liberalisation and immediately set in motion a rapid privatisation programme. This included the abolition of foreign exchange controls as well as the removal of price controls and consumer subsidies. In response the donor community resumed balance of payments support and facilitated negotiations and eventual debt relief for Zambia under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). A colossal sum of US$ 6.8 billion out of US$ 7.2 billion11 was finally written off when Zambia reached the HIPC completion point in July 2007. In order to earn this debt ‘forgiveness’ the government imposed a number of stringent measures that included a freeze on public sector wage increases and ensuring that more funds were allocated to productive sectors rather than to consumption. It was anticipated that with total external debt written off and copper, the country’s main export, commanding high world market prices, Zambians would at last derive some benefit in the form of improved social services and a decline in poverty levels. However, the standard of living has not improved for the majority of the people and the government has yet to demonstrate that its tough economic reforms have borne tangible fruit for the ordinary citizen. In the wake of privatisation, liberal economic policies and concerted efforts to attract investment, foreign direct investment increased by an annual average of 150 per cent from US$ 40 million in 1994 to US$ 821 million in 2007.12 Today the economy of Zambia rests mainly on four pillars: agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and mining, with the latter – the country’s traditional main source of income – now lagging far behind in fourth place. Lately non-traditional
10 11 12 Zambia Review, 9th Edition, 2008, Directory Publishers of Zambia, 2008, p. 20. Statement by Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mr Jonas Shakafuswa, in the National Assembly of Zambia on the ‘HIPC Completion Point Benefits’ on 7 March 2007. I. Mwanawina, China-Africa Economic Relations: The Case of Zambia, A study commissioned by the African Economic Research Consortium February 2008, p. 6.

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exports such as copper wire, burley tobacco, cotton lint, electrical cables, fresh flowers, cotton yarn, gemstones, fresh fruit and vegetables, and electricity have brought in considerable revenue. Over the period 2006–2008 the real GDP increased by an average 6.1 per cent per annum and this is considered robust despite being lower than the figure predicted in the Fifth National Development Plan 2006–2010.13 With the privatisation of mines and the vagaries of the world copper market, large numbers of miners – for many years the major component of the country’s employed workforce – have been retrenched or casualised. Reliable and up-to-date information on how many Zambians are in paid employment is not easy to obtain. The Labour Force Survey Report of 2005, published by the Central Statistical Office in January 2007, is the only authoritative official reference. According to this report the total labour force (persons of 15 years and above either employed or available for work) stood at 4 918 788. Out of this number, 4 131 531 or 84 per cent were employed (495 784 in the formal sector and 3 635 747 in the informal sector) and 787 006 or 16 per cent were unemployed. In addition, 1 236 761 people were classified as being economically inactive.

3

Main challenges

3.1 corruption
A high incidence of corruption in the public sector during the presidency of Frederick Chiluba was exposed initially by the independent media and then by the successor government of President Mwanawasa. Mwanawasa established a task force whose work continued for a while under his successor and resulted in many senior government officials being indicted. The prosecution team of the task force has also succeeded in securing a number of convictions. The wife of Frederick Chiluba was in March 2009 convicted for receiving and being in possession of stolen state property and sentenced to three and a half years simple imprisonment. At the time of writing, her appeal was pending in the high court. Two former air force commanders were convicted and sentenced to prison with hard labour for a period of four to seven years respectively; one former army commander was convicted and imprisoned with hard labour for four years. All those convicted have appealed against their respective sentences in the high court. Six counts of theft, totalling an amount of little more than half a million US dollars, were brought against Frederick Chiluba himself. The trial started in 2004 and the
13 National Budget address by Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, Minister of Finance and National Planning, in the National Assembly of Zambia on 30 January 2009.

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former president was acquitted on 15 August 2009. A civil case in a British court in which Chiluba was found guilty of corrupt practices and theft was not enforced by Zambian courts. There was widespread dissatisfaction over Chiluba’s acquittal among the public, in particular on the part of civil society organisations who thought the judgment glossed over issues. They accordingly agitated for the government to appeal. The decision to make such an appeal is the prerogative of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who in this instance chose not to do so – much to the disappointment of the complaining public. Progressively, though, the entire nation has become aware of the evils of corruption and its negative impact on doing business in Zambia and on development in general. The debate was given added momentum in 2009 when foreign donors threatened to withhold funding alleging widespread corruption in the health ministry.

3.2 hiv and Aids pandemic
Zambia is one of the sub-Saharan countries worst affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic,14 with an estimated national average HIV prevalence of 14.3 per cent among the 15–49 years age group.15 (The estimated HIV and AIDS prevalence in subSaharan Africa stands at 7 per cent.16) The government, through an act of parliament, established the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council (NAC) to coordinate efforts and strategies at national level aimed at stemming and preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country. The effort to prevent the spread of the pandemic is a very costly undertaking and consumes much of the country’s limited funds.17

3.3 Poverty
The major challenge facing Zambia today is to reduce poverty and achieve sustained economic growth for national development. The price of the basic food basket stood at K 78 233 per adult person per month in December 2004 (the latest available figure – just over US$ 1518). Fifty-three per cent of the adult population could not afford this. The Basic Needs Basket, which includes non-food items, was valued at K 111 747 (US$ 22) – not affordable to 68 per cent of all citizens.19
14 15 16 17 18 19 Republic of Zambia. Ministry of Health, Zambia Country Report – Multi-sectoral AIDS Response Monitoring & Evaluation Biennial Report 2006–2007 to the U.N. General Assembly (revised edition, June 2008). Ibid., p. viii. Ibid. 2007/2008 Zambia Human Development Report, United Nations Development Programme, p. 48. www.xe.com 23 June 2010. Republic of Zambia. Central Statistical Office, 2004 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey Report (December 2005), p. 119.

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4 The media landscape
There are four distinct phases in the history of the newspaper industry in Zambia: pre-independence (before 1964), independence/multi-party state (1964–1972), oneparty state (1973–1990) and multi-party state (1991 to date). During the first phase newspapers were polarised between pro-white settlers in favour of the colonial government and pro-nationalists, i.e. Africans fighting for self-rule. During the second and third phases papers were largely state-owned and generally focused on development issues, business and commerce, as well as sports and entertainment. Towards the end of the third phase a few newly established and privately owned newspapers began to publish articles critical of the economic performance and policies of the government and generally championed the cause of a return to multi-party politics and a more democratic political dispensation. The following are the major national publications presently in circulation in Zambia. Table 3: Newspapers and their circulation
title of publication language English English English English English English English English English frequency of publication Daily Daily Weekly Weekly Daily Weekly Weekly Weekly Weekly circulation** 9 000 8 500 16 000 13 000 47 000 47 000 2 000 5 000 6 000 ownership Government Government Government Government Privately owned Privately owned Privately owned Privately owned Privately owned

Times of Zambia* Zambia Daily Mail* Sunday Times of Zambia* Sunday Mail* The Post*/Saturday Post Sunday Post* Monitor & Digest Weekly Guardian The New Vision*

Source: Interviews with respective newspapers * These newspapers are distributed in all major towns and provincial centres ** In the absence of an Audit Bureau of Circulation, the circulation figures could not be verified

All these newspapers cost K 3 000 per copy (US$ 0.6020). This relatively high price comes about as a result of low print runs and thus high unit production costs, high costs of imported raw printing materials, limited numbers of advertisements and high costs of distribution. Not many people can afford to buy newspapers regularly but there are those who have over the years developed the habit of reading a paper every day and will somehow find the money to buy one. Some read the papers bought by the institutions or
20 www.xe.com 23 June 2010.

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companies where they are employed and others borrow copies from more well-to-do friends or neighbours. According to a survey done in April 2009,21 newspapers or other print media are read by 38 per cent of the respondents every day or have been read during the last seven days. The Post, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail also publish their editions on the internet. To access The Post, for example, one has to subscribe to this service at a fee of US $10.00 per month. There are other on-line publications such as the Zambian Watchdog, Lusaka Times and Timbuktu Chronicles. The newspapers listed above are all in English. To provide information for the majority of the population, the government, through the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), occasionally used to publish provincial newspapers. These contained predominantly government press statements and development news in selected Zambian languages commonly used in the respective provinces. All government-owned papers, i.e. the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail, promote government development programmes and policies. Proprietors of privately owned newspapers are motivated by the desire to run a profitable business and to fill a news gap left by other publications rather than by partisan political leanings. Being politically independent, they see themselves as contributing to the democratic governance of the country by acting as watchdogs. The National Mirror (a publication closed down in 2009), jointly owned by the Zambia Episcopal Conference and the Council of Churches in Zambia, ably played this role prior to the return of multi-party politics in 1990–1992 and The Post and a few other privately owned newspapers have since been challenging the policies and exposing the wrongdoings of government. In September 2009, President Rupiah B. Banda announced in parliament that his government was ‘assessing the possibility of considering privatizing some of the state owned media organisations’ to help with ‘enhancing competition in the media industry’.22 Since the MMD came to power in 1991, various ministers of information and broadcasting services have indicated the same desire, but over time they gradually developed cold feet and retracted. The country has one national news agency, the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS). It is government owned and falls directly under the control of the ministry of information and broadcasting services. There are more than 30 radio and seven television stations that include satellite, pay subscription and national television stations. (See chapter 3.)

21 The Steadman Group, Audience Research Survey Zambia, April 2009, p. 8. 22 Address by President R.B. Banda during the ceremonial opening of Parliament on 18 September 2009.

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According to a 2009 survey,23 87 per cent of households in Zambia own one or more radio sets (94 per cent in urban, 84 per cent in rural areas) and 45 per cent own a television set (83 per cent urban / 24 per cent rural). Radio is the most important medium in the country with 88 per cent of respondents listening every day or having listened over the last seven days. The corresponding figure for television is 58 per cent. Until the beginning of 2010 the parastatal Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL) was the only entity authorised to operate a public switched telephone network and the only international gateway to the country. The government sold 75 per cent of its shareholding in ZAMTEL to a Libyan company, Lap Green Network, in July 2010 and slashed the licence fee for operating an international gateway from US$ 12 million to US$ 350 000. This made it possible for other service providers such as Zain Zambia and MTN to enter the market and the ensuing competition brought down the price of international calls considerably. There are 93 000 fixed-line subscribers. With only nine per 1 000 people having fixed-line telephone access, Zambia is one of the countries with the lowest teledensity in Southern Africa. The number of mobile phone users is much higher: a total of 2 688 882 people (as of 30 June 2008) subscribe to one of the three mobile phone service providers. According to the survey quoted above, 64 per cent of households own one or two mobile phones (87 per cent in urban and 52 per cent in rural areas). Internet use in Zambia is still in its infancy. According to the Communications Authority of Zambia, as of June 2008 there were 16 464 internet subscribers to 13 internet services providers (ISPs) and an additional 339 620 internet users patronising internet cafés.24 Most Zambians commonly and chiefly use internet cafés for sending and receiving e-mails. There are new developments that have opened up connectivity to the internet via mobile phones. Considering that there are more than two million mobile phone users, this new technology is likely to surpass traditional personal computer connectivity. For the time being though, it is probably safe to assume that the number of those opting for this kind of internet access will be fairly low because it is complicated, expensive and rather cumbersome because of the tiny text provision and painfully low loading speeds. Broadband is supplied mainly through connections using very small aperture terminals (VSAT) and is considered rather costly. While internet accessibility is largely found in the main business or commercial centres, broadband is really accessible only
23 The Steadman Group, op.cit. 24 Republic of Zambia. Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Fifth National Development Plan, 2006–2010, December 2006, p. 71.

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in Lusaka and in the industrial region of the Copperbelt. In June 2008 there was a total of just 4 335 subscribers accessing the internet via broadband. The speed of connection is rather slow and will remain so until a fibre optic backbone is in place. It is hoped that the part-privatisation of ZAMTEL in July 2010 (75 per cent of the shares were sold to a Libyan company, Lap Green Networks) will improve the utility’s performance and thus the provision of telephone and internet services.

5

Brief history of broadcasting

The earliest form of broadcasting in Zambia can be traced back to 1941 when Harry Franklin, director of the department of information in the British colonial administration, began to dabble in limited broadcasting as a hobby. His efforts resulted in a rudimentary radio station being set up in Lusaka, which broadcast for one hour, three times a week to Africans and once a week to Europeans. Broadcasting times were later increased to a daily two and a half hours. In 1949, the colonial government began to transmit radio programmes in English and (initially) four of the seven Zambian languages: Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi and Tonga. (Services in the three remaining Zambian languages, Lunda, Luvale and Kaonde, were added only in 1967.) 1950 saw the establishment of the Central African Broadcasting Services (CABS), covering Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The service was extended to include Southern Rhodesia and renamed the Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1957. In January 1964 – with the break-up of the Federation – the name changed to the Northern Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation. After independence in 1964 the broadcaster became the Zambia Broadcasting Corporation, then the Zambia Broadcasting Services (from 1966) and finally the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (from 1987). The government of newly independent Zambia established two distinct radio stations: Radio 1, known as the ‘Home Service’, for Zambian languages, and Radio 2 – the English language ‘General Service’. Radio 3 was introduced shortly afterwards: designated ‘Radio Freedom’ this was an external service broadcasting on short-wave and used for broadcasting by Zambian-based African freedom fighters from neighbouring countries then still under colonial rule. Radio 3 was eventually disbanded when these countries became independent, but the original numbering remains to the present day, with Radio 4 (formerly named ‘Radio Mulungushi’), an entertainment channel broadcasting in English, added in 1989. Television was started in 1961 by a privately owned international company, the London-Rhodesia Company (Lonrho). The station was bought and nationalised by

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the Zambian government in 1964 and became part of the Zambia Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), renamed the Zambia Broadcasting Service (ZBS) in 1966 and transformed into the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) by an act of parliament in 1987. The Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) that came to power in October 1991 on a free market platform quickly liberalised and deregulated the airwaves by enacting the ZNBC (Licensing) Regulations Act (1993), the Telecommunications Act (1994) and the Radiocommunications Act (1994). As a result, in the mid 1990s three privately owned radio stations went on air and another thirty private, community and religious stations started operating over the next decade. The MMD’s experience of having been denied access to state-owned media such as ZNBC radio and television, the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail prior to the October 1991 elections prompted the new information and broadcasting services ministry (MIBS) to organise a national seminar on Media and Democracy in Zambia: The Way Forward in October 1992. The seminar resulted in the appointment of a media reform committee (MRC), composed of representatives of both the state and civil society. The committee was to review the state of the media in Zambia and recommend to government ways of reforming the media to advance press freedom and the democratic process that had been started with the return to multi-party politics. The MRC made a number of far-reaching recommendations. Freedom of the press was to be specifically provided for in the Constitution as a fundamental right and freedom. Laws inhibiting freedom of the media should either be repealed or amended. The ZNBC was to be placed under an independent public authority accountable to and financed by parliament and totally removed from the control of government. Media ethics and practice should be the subject of self-regulation by journalists’ associations and other media groups with no statutory powers. In addition the MRC recommended privatisation of all government-owned print media and companies as well as the liberalisation of the airwaves. The government took note of the report and recommendations, but did not take any discernible action. Years later, in 1999, the MIBS organised yet another meeting of representatives from media and legal institutions to review pieces of legislation that impeded media freedom. This resulted in the setting up of a new task force. The task force reaffirmed the recommendations of the MRC and took them further by making a number of other, more specific proposals. The ZNBC, it said, should be fully commercialised, i.e. was not to receive financial support from government other than in exceptional circumstances; the ZNBC Act should be amended to provide for the majority of board members to be nominees of civil society institutions; existing media associations should work towards the creation of a voluntary and non-statutory

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single media council with jurisdiction over professional and ethical matters with a single code of ethics; the Constitution should be amended to guarantee the freedom of the press and other media in clear and unambiguous terms; an Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) with the responsibility to regulate broadcasting services in Zambia should be established and a Freedom of Information Act be passed.25 As a result of the work of the MRC and the task force and on the initiative of parliamentarians, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Act and the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act were passed and signed into law by the President in 2002. Effective implementation and enforcement of these two pieces of legislation, however, has been delayed by disputes and lengthy legal wrangling over the interpretation of the appointment procedure for board members of the ZNBC and the IBA. The Acts provided for the minister of the MIBS to appoint ad hoc appointment committees tasked to select and nominate members for the boards of directors of the ZNBC and the IBA. These processes took almost a year. By the end of 2003 the committees had completed their work of shortlisting and interviewing candidates and selecting nine persons each for the two boards of directors. As required by the Acts, the names of nominees were then submitted to the information and broadcasting services ministers for onward presentation to the National Assembly for ratification. The minister, however, refused to pass on the names to parliament, arguing, among others, that the list submitted to her – according to the act – merely contained ‘recommendations’ and was thus not binding. The interpretation of whether the ad hoc appointment committees had the final say on the list of nominees for board membership or whether the minister had authority to unilaterally veto and change names before submitting them for ratification triggered a series of court cases, starting in April 2004 before the High Court of Zambia and ending with a final ruling by the Supreme Court in March 2007. The High Court initially found that the minister’s decision to withhold the lists of nominees submitted by the appointment committees because she disagreed with their choices was bad in law and therefore null and void. Government’s appeal against the verdict was granted in March 2007 when the Supreme Court ruled that the word ‘recommendation’ implied discretion on the part of the person to whom it is made to either accept or reject such recommendation. The judge pointed out, though, that a distinction was to be made between the powers of the minister over constituting the boards and the operations of the boards. The minister was not bound to accept the names recommended by the ad hoc appointment committees. ‘But once the board
25 A Report of the Task Force on Media Law Reform, January 2000.

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has been established, then it becomes independent and in its operation is beyond the control of the minister or any other authority or person as provided for in section 6 of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act no. 17 of 2002.’26 After the ruling, government promised to proceed with the constitution of the boards. In April 2010, however, an amendment to the ZNBC Act came into force in which the provisions on the appointments committee were deleted altogether. It is now again up to the minister to nominate members of the ZNBC board. In regard to the IBA, since the Supreme Court judgment no action has been taken and the Authority is still not in place

26 SCZ Appeal no. 76/2005.

2
Media Legislation and Regulation

1
1.1

International, continental and regional standards
united nations

The following instruments of the UN are relevant to freedom of expression: The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted 1948) The Universal Declaration is not a treaty that is ratified by states and thus legally binding. However, scholars now regard it as either having itself become international customary law or as a reflection of such law.27 In either case the inclusion of freedom of expression in the declaration implies that even states that have ratified none of the relevant treaties are bound to respect freedom of expression as a human right. Article 19 of the Declaration deals with the right to freedom of expression:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (enacted by the UN in 1976) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a treaty that elaborates on many of the rights outlined in the Declaration. Zambia acceded to the ICCPR on 10 April 1984. The Covenant’s article 19 declares:
27 See, for example, H. Hannum, ‘The Status and Future of the Customary International Law of Human Rights: The Status of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in National and International Law’, Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 287; H. J. Steiner, P. Alston and R. Goodman, International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals – Texts and Materials, Oxford: Oxford University Press (third edition), 2007.

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1) Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference; 2) Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

The Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press (adopted by UNESCO in 1991) The General Assembly of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Windhoek Declaration, like other non-treaty documents, has moral authority by representing a broad consensus of the international community on the detailed interpretation of the Universal Declaration and other relevant standards as they relate to the press in Africa. Article 9 of the Windhoek Declaration states:
[We] declare that 1) Consistent with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development. 2) By an independent press, we mean a press independent from governmental, political or economic control or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals. 3) By a pluralistic press, we mean the end of monopolies of any kind and the existence of the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the community.

1.2 African union
Zambia is a member of the African Union (AU), whose Constitutive Act states that its objectives include the promotion of ‘democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance’ (Article 3[g]). The most important human rights standard adopted by the AU, or its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), is:

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The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (adopted 27 June 1981)28 Zambia acceded to the Charter in 1984 and is thus bound by its provisions. The Charter’s article 9 on freedom of expression states:
• • Every individual shall have the right to receive information. Every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his opinions within the law.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is the body established under the Charter to monitor and promote compliance with its terms. Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa In 2002, the African Commission adopted this Declaration to provide a detailed interpretation for member states of the AU of the rights to freedom of expression outlined in the African Charter, stating in its article I:
Freedom of expression and information, including the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other form of communication, including across frontiers, is a fundamental and inalienable human right and an indispensable component of democracy. Everyone shall have an equal opportunity to exercise the right to freedom of expression and to access information without discrimination.

It goes on to say in article II:
No one shall be subject to arbitrary interference with his or her freedom of expression; and Any restrictions on freedom of expression shall be provided by law, serve a legitimate interest and be necessary in a democratic society.

The Declaration details how such freedom of expression should be realised. Of particular relevance to this study is the statement regarding public broadcasting (article VI):
State and government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into public service broadcasters, accountable to the public through the legislature rather than
28 Organisation of African Unity, The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, adopted 27 June 1981, Doc. CAB/ LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force 21 October 1986.

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the government, in accordance with the following principles: • public broadcasters should be governed by a board which is protected against interference, particularly of a political or economic nature; • the editorial independence of public service broadcasters should be guaranteed; • public broadcasters should be adequately funded in a manner that protects them from arbitrary interference with their budgets; • public broadcasters should strive to ensure that their transmission system covers the whole territory of the country; and • the public service ambit of public broadcasters should be clearly defined and include an obligation to ensure that the public receive adequate, politically balanced information, particularly during election periods.

The document also states that freedom of expression ‘places an obligation on the authorities to take positive measures to promote diversity’ (article II), that community and private broadcasting should be encouraged (article V) and that broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory authorities should be independent and ‘adequately protected against interference, particularly of a political or economic nature’ (article VII). The Declaration furthermore provides for freedom of access to information and states that ‘the right to information shall be guaranteed by law’ (article IV). African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007) This Charter highlights the importance of access to information in a democracy. It states:
[State parties shall] [p]romote the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs. (Article 2[10]) State parties shall ... ensure fair and equitable access by contesting parties to state controlled media during elections. (Article 17[3])29

Records at the ministry of justice show that Zambia has yet to accede to this Charter.30

29 http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/Documents/Treaties/text/Charter%20on%20Democracy.pdf. 30 Interview with Mrs Gaudentia M. Salasini, director, International Law and Agreements, ministry of justice, on 7 September 2010.

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1.3 southern African development community (sAdc)
Zambia is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The treaty establishing SADC provides that member states shall operate in accordance with principles that include respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law (Article 4[c]). In addition, the regional structure has adopted several protocols related to media and/or communications. SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport (adopted in 2000) Although the president has signed this Protocol, Zambia has not yet ratified it. The Protocol focuses on harmonising policies on culture, information and sport among SADC member states. Article 17 outlines the following key objectives, amongst others:
• • • • • Co-operation and collaboration in the promotion, establishment and growth of independent media, as well as free flow of information; Development and promotion of local culture by increasing local content in the media; Taking positive measures to narrow the information gap between the rural and urban areas by increasing the coverage of the mass media; Encouragement of the use of indigenous languages in the mass media as vehicles of promoting local, national and regional inter-communication; Ensuring the media are adequately sensitised on gender issues so as to promote gender equality and equity in information dissemination.

Article 18 focuses on information policies, including committing member states to ‘create [a] political and economic environment conducive to the growth of pluralistic media’. Article 20 enjoins member states to take ‘necessary measures to ensure the freedom and independence of the media’, with ‘independence of the media’ being defined as ‘editorial independence, whereby editorial policy and decisions are made by the media without interference’. SADC Declaration on Information and Communication Technology (2001) This Declaration focuses on telecommunications structures and promotes the creation of a three-tier system in each country with:
Government responsible for a conducive national policy framework, independent

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regulators responsible for licensing, and a multiplicity of providers in a competitive environment responsible for providing services. (Article 2[a][i])31

Although the Declaration does not have the same legal force as a protocol, all countries that are party to it (including Zambia) have made a commitment in adopting it to abide by its provisions.

1.4 other documents
African Charter on Broadcasting (2001) This Charter was adopted by media practitioners and international media and other human rights organisations at a UNESCO conference to celebrate ten years of the Windhoek Declaration. Although it has not been endorsed by any inter-state structures, it represents a consensus of leading African and other international experts on freedom of expression and media. The Charter specifies, amongst other things, that there should be a three-tier system of broadcasting (public, private and community), demands that ‘[a]ll state and government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into public service broadcasters’, and states that regulatory frameworks should be based on ‘respect for freedom of expression, diversity and the free flow of information and ideas’.

2

The Constitution of Zambia

Since attaining political independence in 1964 Zambia has had four constitutions. None of these, however, has proved satisfactory and appropriate or responsive to the growing challenges of a democratic Zambia. Most Zambians would like to have a constitution that provides, among others, for a comprehensive bill of rights, members of parliament that are accountable to the electorate, gender equality, a truly independent electoral commission, media freedom, reduced executive powers of the president and an improved system of governance. On 23 June 2010, the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) launched a 300-page Draft Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. The public was given 40 days in which to study the draft and submit their comments and views to the NCC for consideration and possible incorporation in a revised Draft Constitution that would finally be tabled before parliament for enactment. The NCC, however, did not release its summary report and recommendation documents, which would have provided stakeholders with context and background regarding the provisions in the Draft Constitution.
31 http://www.sadc.int/key_documents/declarations/ict.php/.

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The current Zambian Constitution provides for the protection of freedom of expression in Article 20(1):
Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to impart and communicate ideas and information without interference, whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons, and freedom from interference with his correspondence.

Article 58(1) of the draft contains this definition of freedom of expression:
Every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes – (a) freedom to hold an opinion; and (b) freedom to receive or impart information or ideas.

Significantly, the repeated reference in the current constitution that these freedoms are to be enjoyed ‘without interference’ has been dropped. Clause 2 of article 58 of the Draft Constitution introduces general limitations:
Clause (1) does not extend to – (a) propaganda of war; (b) incitement to violence; or (c) advocacy of hatred that – (i) vilifies and disparages others or incites harm; or (ii) is based on any prohibited ground of discrimination specified in this Constitution.

Such prohibited grounds of discrimination are specified in article 48(1):
... race, tribe, sex, pregnancy, origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or health, marital, ethnic, social or economic status.

It is interesting to note that article 58(2) of the draft is similar to article 16(1) of the South African constitution – with some important differences. The South African Constitution speaks of ‘incitement to imminent violence’ while the Zambian draft refers to violence in general; such a broad definition could be open to abuse. In regard

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to article 58(2)(c)(ii) the South African Constitution also adds a further important restriction to the clause by saying ‘and that constitutes incitement to cause harm’. Thus, again, the Zambian draft casts the net for possible limitations much wider. Article 58(3) of the draft contains the same specific limitations to freedom of expression as the current constitution (and lists them in a new order):
Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, this Article to the extent that it is shown that the law in question makes provision that is reasonably required for the purpose of: a) the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; b) protecting the reputation, rights and freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings; c) preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence; d) maintaining the authority and independence of the courts; e) regulating educational institutions in the interests of persons receiving instructions therein; or f) the registration of, or regulating the technical administration or the technical operations of, newspapers and other publications, telephony, telegraphy, posts, wireless broadcasting or television; and except so far as that provision or, the thing done under the authority thereof, as the case may be, is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.

This list of possible exceptions allows for the limitation of the right to freedom of expression for a wide range of reasons, some of them only vaguely specified. There is no definition, for example, of what constitutes public safety, public order, public morality or public health. The fact that the ‘registration’ and the ‘technical administration or … operation of newspapers and other publications’ is expressly mentioned in clause (f) should also be noted. If this is merely meant to allow for registration of newspapers with the director of the National Archives, as is the case currently under the Printed Publications Act, 1947, this provision would be no reason for concern. However, such a clause could open up an avenue for the compulsory registration (and, by implication, de-registration) of print media (or even internet on-line publications) and thus allow for the banning of publications.

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In contentious cases the burden of proof of whether a limitation is indeed justified is not on those who impose it. Instead, it is up to those who oppose it to show that it is not. In its article 59 the draft introduces a new provision on access to information:
(1) Every person has the right to demand the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information affecting that person. (2) The State has the obligation to publicise any important information affecting the welfare of the nation. (3) Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for access to information.

The first two sub-clauses reveal a fairly limited understanding of the concept of access to information. The wording of clause (2) leaves wide room for interpretation and thus the possible withholding of information. In the absence of a clear provision that everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state, it will be up to the state to decide what is ‘important’ and what affects the ‘welfare of the nation’. Media freedom is provided for in article 60 of the draft constitution which states:
(1) There shall be freedom of the press and other media. (2) A journalist shall not be compelled to disclose a source of information, except as may be determined by a court.

The limitations to this freedom as listed in clause (3) of this article are similar to those in article 58(3). Clause (2) is of great concern because it introduces an exceptional derogation of rights when it comes to journalists not being compelled to disclose a source of information. Given that limitations to the freedom of the media are dealt with in clause (3) of article 60 there is no need for such a special limitation. The ideal situation would have been to leave out the words ‘except as may be determined by a court’. In its clause (4), article 60 of the draft deals in detail with the regulation of media:
Broadcasting and other electronic media are subject only to fair licensing procedures that are – (a) administered by a body that is independent of control by the Government, political interests or commercial interests; and (b) designed to ensure (i) the reasonable allocation of broadcast frequencies; and (ii) adherence to codes of good practice.

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While the general intention of this clause is commendable, the provision subjects not just broadcasting but also ‘other electronic media’ to licensing procedures – which could mean that internet websites, for example, might be forced to undergo a licensing process. In addition, the clause introduces statutory regulation of broadcasting in regard to ‘codes of good practice’. The proposed clause would substantially overcome these problems if it was amended by deleting the reference to ‘other electronic media’ and by deleting section (b)(ii). Clause (5) opens the way for statutory licensing of any media including print and online media:
The registration or licensing of any media shall not unreasonably be withheld, withdrawn or refused.

Clause (6) enjoins parliament to enact legislation to:
(a) establish an independent authority to regulate broadcasting in the public interest; (b) ensure fairness and diversity of views broadly representing Zambian society; (c) specify the role of the Government in securing and protecting the public interest in broadcasting.

Overall, the political dispensation of a multi-party democracy since 1991 has extended the scope for freedom of expression. In some respects, Zambians do feel free to speak their minds without legal considerations. However, the avenues of public expression, especially in print and television, are relatively narrow and in most cases people only interact with the mainstream media if they are newsmakers. Ordinary people’s views are generally not considered ‘news’ in Zambia and people become accustomed to news being what the president says. ‘People want to express themselves, but many do not want to be identified, especially when it comes to sensitive matters for fear of victimisation.’ This is especially true of the country’s radio stations which have phone-in programmes: although government has voiced its objection to these programmes, even threatening to close down certain radio stations, people continue to make use of them, although usually without identifying themselves. Some radio stations, especially those based in Lusaka, have moved away from phone-in programmes as a result of government intimidation.32
32 Zambia 2009 African Media Barometer, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Media Institute of Southern Africa, Namibia, 2009, p. 16.

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The print media are publishing letters ‘to the editor’, features or satirical articles that are very critical of government policies and decisions or of the political leadership in general. Radio stations broadcast live discussion programmes on topical or controversial issues that have generated heated debate and contributions from listeners. On the other hand, there have been numerous incidents where media practitioners were subjected to harassment, threats, beatings, censorship, and detention by the police or overzealous political party cadres. Media practitioners have also been deliberately barred from covering certain events. Such ill-treatment has been experienced by media practitioners from both public and private media houses, although the majority of cases involve the latter. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambian Chapter (MISA-Zambia) has systematically documented every incident of harassment in its annual reports. Between 1998 and 2009 at least 20 media practitioners were beaten, 48 censored, 42 detained, 62 threatened, two arrested and charged, three banned from covering events, three imprisoned, and four either attacked or bombed in the course of trying to access information for the public or for publishing information that the police and the government would have liked to have kept from becoming public knowledge.

3

General media laws and regulations

3.1 laws and statutory regulation
Printed Publications Act, 1947 No person is allowed to print or publish or cause to be printed or published any newspaper until it has been registered with the director of the National Archives. The registration involves providing full details of the proprietor, editor, printer or publisher and the physical address of the premises where the newspaper is to be published. There is a levy to be paid for the original registration and any changes in the details thereafter. Failure to register a newspaper is a punishable offence. Furthermore, the Act stipulates that a copy of every newspaper or printed book should be deposited with the director of the National Archives. Press card While a newspaper needs to be registered before publication starts, there is currently no requirement for media practitioners to be registered anywhere, except when obtaining a press card from the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS). The card is valid for a year only and needs to be re-applied for regularly. According to

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a ZANIS official there have been instances when people posed as journalists to gain access. The card was merely supposed to show that one is a bona fide journalist and therefore authorised to practise. It thus helped when screening for security purposes, particularly during certain state functions, where security is a factor. The permanent secretary in the ministry of information and broadcasting services says ZANIS has no reason for abuse or refusal ‘unless the applicant cheats’.33 Newsmakers and various institutions insist on journalists identifying themselves as such. So far, no one has been denied a press card.

3.2 self-regulation
Since Zambia attained political independence, the government has on several occasions, both under the one-party and the re-introduced multi-party dispensation, tried to impose statutory regulations on the media. All these efforts have failed because of protest marches and well coordinated campaigns by media associations in the country and court rulings in favour of the media. In November 2002, various media associations established the voluntary Media Council of Zambia (MECOZ) as a self-regulatory body to function outside any external or government pressure or parliamentary legislation. The preamble of MECOZ’s constitution sets out the desire of the media to ‘be accountable to the public for our reports’ and states that ‘the public should be encouraged to voice any grievances against the media’. The preamble further underlines the media fraternity’s belief that ‘open dialogue with our readers, viewers and listeners should be actively encouraged’. Members of MECOZ were individual journalists, almost all media houses and organisations such as the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zambia), the Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and the Zambia Media Women’s Association (ZAMWA). MISA-Zambia represented privately owned media houses and media practitioners working for private media as well as freelancers, while the other organisations are made up mainly of state-owned media and media practitioners working for them. By joining MECOZ, members recognised its jurisdiction. The biggest privately owned daily, The Post, however, refused to join. This split in the media fraternity served to reduce the MECOZ’s influence and the compliance of all journalists with its code of ethics. Government took the split as its cue to argue that because MECOZ was not representative of the media it would not recognise the council.
33 Interview with Mr Gilbert Maimbo, director, ZANIS, on 26 February 2009.

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In August 2009 the debate over self-regulation as against statutory regulation flared up once again when Vice-President George Kunda challenged media bodies to come up with a draft bill for self-regulation within six months, failing which government would introduce one in parliament.34 Media lobby groups categorically stated that they would not be intimidated into drawing up such a bill. After considerable debate and an extensive campaign that involved civil society organisations, opinion leaders, members of parliament and in certain instances foreign media and legal experts backing the case of local media practitioners for self-regulation, the minister of information and broadcasting services as the chief government spokesperson agreed in January 2010 to allow media bodies more time to formulate a self-regulatory framework.35 The media fraternity then held a series of meetings that culminated in the ‘Fringilla Consensus’ (named after the farm lodge where it was formulated) in which all local media bodies and organisations agreed to establish an all inclusive Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC). The significance of the Fringilla Consensus was that all stakeholders, including The Post newspaper, subscribed to the ideals expressed in it and appended their signatures to it. The Consensus states:
We, the representatives of various media organisations and media houses, meeting at Fringilla Farm Lodge in Chisamba from 3rd to 5th February 2010, do hereby declare that after exhaustive consultations and debate, we agree on the development of a non-statutory, self-regulatory framework, leading to the establishment of an allinclusive Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) by 3rd May 2010. … We, now, therefore: Freely accept the Fringilla Consensus and all the further steps to be undertaken before the launch of the proposed ZAMEC. Furthermore, the ZAMEC will be constituted as a voluntary, self-regulatory mechanism to provide impartial, expeditious and cost-effective arbitration to settle complaints against the media and other professional matters.36

The launch, however, had not taken place at the time of writing because the government insisted on its demand for a statutory media regulatory framework, while the media associations remained adamant in their preference for self-regulation of the media.

34 35 36

Times of Zambia, 7 August 2009. The Post, 9 January 2010. Sunday Post, 7 February 2010.

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4 Other laws that impact on media and freedom of expression
4.1 the Penal code
The Penal Code contains a number of sections that impact on the media and freedom of expression. Its provisions are essentially an anachronism from the pre-independence era when the colonial government sought to safeguard its interests and perpetuate its control and oppression of the indigenous Zambian people by ensuring limited access to revolutionary publications or publications that were critical of the authorities. Sections 53, 54 and 55 empower the president to declare a publication or a series of publications to be prohibited if he considers them to be contrary to the public interest. These provisions were invoked in February 1995 when Frederick Chiluba banned edition no. 401 of The Post newspaper. In addition the newspaper’s managing director, managing editor and special projects editor were detained for 48 hours.37 Section 57(1) prohibits sedition. This includes offences such as uttering ‘any seditious words’; printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing or reproducing ‘any seditious publication’; or importing any ‘seditious publication’, unless a person ‘has no reason to believe that the publication is seditious’. Section 60(1) defines a seditious intention, among others, as
… to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the government; … to raise discontent or disaffection among the people of Zambia; to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different parts of the community; to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different classes of the population in Zambia …

Law and journalism lecturers Chanda and Liswaniso38 argue that ‘these sections seriously inhibit press freedom and freedom of speech generally’:
Many of the activities prohibited by section 60(1) are normal in a democracy. For example, it is incumbent on opposition parties to create disaffection against the government by exposing the government’s blunders and shortcomings so that they can be elected at the next elections.

Section 69 provides for the protection of the president’s reputation and the dignity of his office by ensuring that ‘any person who, with intent to bring the President into

37 38

C.H. Chirwa, Press Freedom in Zambia, A Review of Five Years of MMD, MISA-Zambia, 1997, p. 30. A. Chanda and M. Liswaniso, Handbook of Media Laws in Zambia, MISA-Zambia, 1999, p. 97.

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hatred, ridicule or contempt, publishes any defamatory or insulting matter, whether by writing, print, word of mouth or in any other manner, is guilty of an offence’. The section does not define what is deemed defamatory or insulting. A person guilty of any of these offences is liable on conviction to imprisonment for up to three years. This section is cause for concern because in the course of vigorous electoral campaigns in a multi-party environment and in pursuit of ‘let the best candidate win’, there will necessarily also be criticism of an incumbent president. And what might easily be deemed defamatory or insulting by that person or his/her supporters would seem to be perfectly justified and necessary to others, or in the public interest and in line with the right of the public to know the truth about any candidate. On 27 September 2008, then acting President Rupiah Banda won an injunction in a Lusaka High Court restraining The Post and any of its agents from publishing ‘defamatory’ language against him. At the time of writing the court case had not been concluded. There have been many incidents when overzealous policemen harassed journalists over a perceived offence of insulting the head of state. For example, police arrested and charged The Post editor-in-chief, Fred M’membe, on 11 February 2002 in relation with a story published the previous month in which a member of parliament, Dipak Patel referred to President Levy Mwanawasa as a ‘cabbage’. So far most such instances have not gone beyond the stage of questioning and brief detentions by the police, and court cases, if brought at all, have invariably been dropped or discontinued after the first court appearance. Another restriction on press freedom is contained in section 71. This makes it an offence for any person ‘without justification or excuse as would be deemed sufficient in the case of defamation of a private person’, to publish anything that has the effect of degrading, reviling or exposing ‘to hatred or contempt any foreign prince, potentate, ambassador or other foreign dignitary with intent to disturb the peace and friendship between Zambia and the country to which such prince, potentate, ambassador or dignitary belongs’. Chanda and Liswaniso observe that ‘… the Penal Code should not compare foreign rulers with private persons just as private persons in Zambia should not be compared with the President in cases of defamation because the President‘s actions or foreign rulers as public figures are open to criticism by the media or the public’.39 Section 116A deals with contempt of court. This provision can be used to stifle freedom of expression unreasonably and to target journalists with a reputation for being critical of state actions. In June 2010, The Post editor Fred M’membe was
39 Ibid.

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convicted to four months imprisonment with hard labour in terms of section 116(1)(d) which says that any person who
… while a judicial proceeding is pending, makes use of any speech or writing, misrepresenting such proceeding, or capable of prejudicing any person in favour of or against any parties to such proceeding, or calculated to lower the authority of any person before whom such proceeding is being had or taken … is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for six months.

The offence: The Post had published a commentary piece questioning the lawfulness of an ongoing court case (in which the accused was subsequently found to have no case to answer). M’membe is appealing the sentence. Sections 191 to 198 provide for the definition and a detailed description of what constitutes offences of defamation. According to the Penal Code, defamatory content ‘is matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by an injury to reputation. It is immaterial whether at the time of publication of the defamatory matter the person concerning whom such matter is published is living or dead’. A person who publishes such material is guilty of a misdemeanor termed ‘libel’ which is punishable by imprisonment with hard labour for three years or more, without the option of a fine. According to the task force on Media Law Reform, ‘the original justification for the creation of the offences, namely the prevention of breaches of peace, has ceased to apply and the reputations of individuals can adequately be protected by the civil law of defamation’. Late media academic Francis Kasoma concurs and points to what he regards as the real reason for holding on to these provisions:
Zambia inherited this statutory and common law on criminal libel from England. It is mainly enforced today to gag the press than to preserve the peace. It would seem that those in government do not want the press to have the freedom to reveal information that paints them in bad light even when what the press is revealing is true. They also do not seem to want the press to express its opinion in matters of public interest by criticizing the performance, or the lack of it, of people holding public office.40

40 F.P. Kasoma, The Community Radio in Zambia – Its Management and Organisation, MISA-Zambia, 2002, pp. 247–248.

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Section 177(1) deals with ‘obscene matters or things’ and makes a person, if convicted, liable to imprisonment for five years or to a fine for committing offences such as, among others: • making, producing or being in possession of any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs, cinematograph films or any other object tending to corrupt the morals; • importing, conveying or exporting any such matters or things, or in any manner whatsoever puts any of them in circulation; • and publicly exhibiting any indecent show or performance or any show or performance tending to corrupt morals. The section does not define obscenity and neither does it elaborate on what is deemed to be ‘tending to corrupt morals’. The definition and meaning are left to the courts to determine, and it is thus not possible for any person to be aware in advance of what may be regarded as obscene. The section also does not provide for any defences.

4.2 the state security Act, 1969
The objects of the State Security Act, Cap. 111 are ‘to make better provision relating to state security; to deal with espionage, sabotage and other activities prejudicial to the interests of the state; and to provide for purposes incidental to or connected therewith’. Section 3 of the Act provides that
… any person who, for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of Zambia, obtains, gathers, records, publishes or communicates to any person any code, password, sketch, plan, model, note or other document, article or information which might be or is intended to be directly or indirectly useful to a foreign power or disaffected person, shall be guilty of the offence of espionage. It is equally an offence to approach, inspect or enter a protected place.

The offence attracts a penalty of imprisonment of not less than 20 years. The threat of such a severe penalty coupled with the broad framing of the offence makes civil servants reluctant to provide any information about government operations to journalists for fear of being prosecuted.

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The reason for including such provisions, it would appear, is that at the time when the Act was passed, newly independent Zambia was surrounded by neighbouring territories still under colonial rule (such as former Portuguese East Africa – now Mozambique, Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe, South West Africa – now Namibia, Portuguese West Africa – now Angola, and the then apartheid South Africa) and thus considered to be potentially hostile to the peace of the country. Now that peace generally prevails in the sub-region, the Act needs to be either amended or repealed altogether.

4.3 the Anti-terrorism Act no. 21 of 2007
This Act is intended to prohibit the carrying out of any act of terrorism and outlines measures to detect and prevent terrorist activities. It provides 12 definitions of terrorism and terrorist acts, and stipulates attendant offences and penalties. Section 9 refers specifically to the collection of information for ‘terrorist purposes’:
(1) A person who for purposes of or in connection with terrorism – (a) collects, makes or transmits a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism; or (b) possesses a document or record containing information likely to be used for a terrorist act; (c) commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a period of not less than ten years but not exceeding twenty years.

In addition, according to Section 12:
a person who knowingly makes a false report or issues any false communication purporting that a terrorist offence has been or is intended to or likely to be committed, commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years, but not exceeding thirty years.

These provisions may have grave implications for media reporting.

4.4 national Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, cap. 12
Article 87 of the Constitution of Zambia grants the ‘National Assembly and its members … such privileges, powers and immunities as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament’ and stipulates – in an odd anachronism from the days of the British

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colonial government – that ‘the law and custom of the Parliament of England shall apply to the National Assembly with such modifications as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament’. Section 19 of the National Assembly Act says that a person who
(d) shows disrespect in speech or manner towards the Speaker; or (e) commits any other act of intentional disrespect to or with reference to the proceedings of the Assembly or of a committee of the Assembly or to any person presiding at such proceedings

will, if found guilty, be liable on conviction to a fine ‘not exceeding five hundred penalty units or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a period not exceeding three months or to both’. These penalties are provided for in section 21 of the Act. In March 1996 parliament took the unprecedented decision of sentencing to prison for an indefinite period, in absentia, The Post newspaper managing director Fred M’membe, managing editor Bright Mwape and columnist Lucy Sichone. The recommendation to this effect by the Standing Orders Committee followed publication on 29 January 1996 of an article in The Post which the Speaker considered
highly malicious against Vice President Brig-Gen Godfrey Miyanda, the Speaker, Energy and Water Development Deputy Minister, Mr. Ernest Mwansa and the House in general. It is unacceptable to attack or insult members of Parliament for what they say in the House. The media should respect the integrity and personality of MPs instead of using reckless adjectives [sic], let us criticize but with respect and use of polite language.41

After a few weeks in prison the three journalists were released following a Lusaka High Court judgment.

freedom of information Act
Zambia does not yet have a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act yet. In February 2002 media lobby groups initiated a private member’s bill in parliament but government speedily invoked article 81 of the Constitution. This stipulates that bills with financial implications need the consent of the president or the minister of finance before they can be tabled in the National Assembly. Government then produced its own draft bill
41 C.H. Chirwa, Press Freedom in Zambia, A Review of Five Years of MMD, MISA-Zambia, 1997, p. 34.

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and presented it in parliament in November 2002. A month later, however, it withdrew the bill, citing the need for further consultation. More than five years later, in January 2008, then President Levy Mwanawasa assured the nation that the FOI Bill would be presented in the House again and passed before the end of that year. His illness and death in August 2008 were given as the reason why this did not happen and government has now set 2010 as the new deadline for re-tabling the bill. 42 During the September 2009 ceremonial opening of parliament the new president, Rupiah B. Banda, said: ‘Consultations on the Freedom of Information Bill have reached an advanced stage. I am calling upon members of the public to take keen interest in the development so that the proposed law meets their aspirations.’ The odds are that it will take at least another year for the bill to be finalised. Perhaps the Draft Constitution of June 2010, which in its Article 59(3) obliges parliament to ‘enact legislation to provide access to information’, will speed up the process.

5

Jurisprudence

The bulk of cases brought against media practitioners and media houses in Zambia relate to defamation or libel. There are very few newspapers that have escaped legal suits of one form or another. While this might be something to be expected in the life of any newspaper, the huge costs for damages that the courts of law award to successful plaintiffs and the fact that these could threaten the survival of media houses are of great concern. Examples of awards against newspapers ranging from K 20 million to K 600 million (US$ 3 945 to US$ 118 500 respectively) abound. Particularly worrying is the concept of ‘exemplary damages’, which are awarded where the conduct of the defendant is considered to be wanton, or, as it is sometimes put, where he or she is found to have acted in ‘contumelious disregard’ of the plaintiff’s rights. The objective of exemplary damages is to punish the defendant and to deter him or her from engaging in the same behaviour in future. 43 In the case of Sata v. The Post Newspaper in 1995, Chief Justice Matthew Ngulube said:

42 Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and chief government spokesperson, Lt-Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha, during a meeting with media organisations on 10 December 2008 and President R.B. Banda during the official opening of parliament on 16 January 2009. 43 Chanda and Liswaniso, op.cit., p. 61.

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I … bear in mind the primary object of awarding damages for defamation is to offer vindication and solatium; money cannot really be compensation in such cases. The principles of exemplary or punitive damages … apply only in an appropriate case where the general damages, incorporating any aggravating element, are insufficient to drive home to a defendant the error of his ways. I am myself not in favour of encouraging the notion of punishment in a civil case, especially where there has been little actual loss suffered by the plaintiff. I did also say much earlier on that I considered the true chilling effect on the freedom of speech and press to emanate from the possibility of awards which are exorbitant and crippling. There was also a prayer for a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants from repeating the libels complained of … I do not consider that it would be appropriate to restrain the defendants forever. The plaintiff is a political public figure and a permanent injunction, like any excessive award, would be certain to inhibit free debate even on current and future subjects. Newspapers who cause damage while performing a vital public service should only be made to pay the freight but not to be altogether stopped dead in their tracks.44

In line with this reasoning, The Post was sentenced to pay one million Kwacha only, instead of the three billion demanded by the plaintiff. 45 In 2009, Section 177(1) of the Penal Code which deals with ‘obscene matters or things’ and the interpretation of what might constitute such ‘obscenity’ were put to the test. In June of that year workers at various health institutions went on strike for better salaries and allowances. Patients in a critical state suffered the worst. In one reported incident a frustrated husband whose wife was in the last minutes of labour took photographs while she lay outside Lusaka’s main University Teaching Hospital giving birth without the help of any medical personnel. The photographs were later forwarded to The Post for the paper to publicise the plight of patients caused by the industrial action. The Post news editor, Chansa Kabwela, decided against publishing the photos but instead circulated them to a select group of people for their information, among them the country’s vice-president, George Kunda, the secretary to the cabinet, the permanent secretary in the ministry of health, and the Catholic Archbishop of the Lusaka Archdiocese. In an accompanying note to the vice-president, Kabwela implored him to find an urgent solution to the impasse.

44 http://www.zamlii.ac.zm/media/news/viewnews.cgi?category=2&id=1166188621. 45 Ibid.

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During a press conference later in June the president described the photographs as pornographic and their circulation as unacceptable. He ‘advised’ the police to take appropriate action against the person or persons responsible for circulating the photographs. The Zambia police moved quickly and summoned Chansa Kabwela, who was later charged with the offence of circulating obscene matters or things tending to corrupt public morals, in violation of section 177 1(b) of the Penal Code of Zambia. On 16 November 2009, Lusaka chief resident magistrate, Chola Kafunda, finally acquitted Kabwela of the one count of circulating obscene material with intent to corrupt public morals. In his judgment, Kafunda stated that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against Kabwela. The pictures had no pernicious effect of debouching or depraving the minds of those to whom they were circulated. They were meant to address national issues affecting the health sector and did not meet the obscenity test. The judge found that the effect of shock, embarrassment and disgust which the pictures had on witnesses who testified, fell outside the determination of obscenity and corruption of public morals.46

6 Conclusions and recommendations
A draft constitution published in June 2010 by the National Constitutional Conference provides for the guarantee of freedom of expression and the media, access to information and the regulation of the media. While some of the proposed new provisions are commendable others are cause for concern. The government acknowledges in its Fifth National Development Plan of 200647 that the existing legislative framework within which the media operate does not sufficiently provide for freedom of the media, freedom of information and good governance. It consequently sees the need for a review of the current media law regime and the enactment or enforcement of new laws that will actually promote these rights and freedoms and the role of the media in support of democratic governance. This acknowledgement by government gives a firm cue for positive and speedy action to put in place new progressive media legislation and repeal existing laws that impede freedom of the media and freedom of information.

46 Zambia Daily Mail, 17 November 2009. 47 Republic of Zambia. Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Fifth National Development Plan, 2006–2010, December 2006, p. 248.

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constitution
Delegates to a round table meeting on 27 July 2010 to validate this report, and who represented 40 broadcasting and other media organisations as well as civil society groups, also discussed articles 58 to 60 of the Draft Constitution and submitted a number of detailed recommendations to the National Constitutional Conference: • Article 58(1): While this article on the definition of freedom of expression was commended, there is concern over the fact that the provision of the current constitution (Article 20[1]) which states that these freedoms are to be enjoyed ‘without interference’, has been dropped. The workshop recommends that the NCC should clarify this omission. The draft, as it stands now, implicitly does not exclude interferences in the right of freedom of expression. • Article 58(2): It was noted that this clause on possible limitations to the right of freedom of expression is similar to section 16(1) of the South African constitution – with some important differences. The South African constitution speaks of ‘incitement to imminent violence’ while the Zambian draft in clause 2(1)(a) refers to violence in general. The workshop was of the view that such a broad definition could be open to abuse. In regard to clause 2(c)(ii) the South African constitution contains an important further restriction by adding the words ‘and that constitutes incitement to cause harm’. Without such a restriction, the workshop observed, the Zambian draft casts the net for possible limitations much wider. The workshop recommends that the NCC should clarify why the draft omits important qualifications such as ‘imminent’ violence and ‘incitement to cause harm’. It is further recommended that these qualifications be included in the final draft. • Article 58(3): It was noted that this article on specific limitations to freedom of expression includes provisions that are cause for concern: Clause (a) allows for the limitation of the right to freedom of expression for a wide range of reasons, some of them only vaguely specified. There is no definition, for example, of what constitutes public safety, public order, public morality or public health. Such broad terms are, it was argued, open to abuse.

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Clause (f) expressly mentions the ‘registration’ and the ‘technical administration or … operation of newspapers and other publications’. If this is meant to allow for registration of newspapers with the Director of the National Archives as is the case now under the Printed Publications Act, 1947 there would be no reason for concern. It was, however, seen as worrying that such a clause could open the way for the compulsory registration (and de-registration) of print (or even internet) media and thus allow for the banning of publications. The workshop recommends that these clauses be formulated more precisely to avoid any possibility of infringements to the right to freedom of expression. • Article 59: The workshop commended the attempt to introduce an article on access to information. The draft, however, reveals a fairly limited understanding of the concept of access to information. The wording of clause (2) leaves wide room for interpretation and thus the possible withholding of information. In the absence of a clear provision that everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state, it will be up to the state to decide what is ‘important’ and what affects the ‘welfare of the nation’. The workshop recommends the following new article 59: – Every person has the right to access to information held by public bodies. – Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for access to information. – The State has the obligation to publicise any important information affecting the welfare of the nation. – Every person has the right to demand the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information affecting that person. • Article 60: The workshop commended the inclusion of the guarantee of freedom of the media in the draft. In regard to clause (2), however, delegates had grave concerns over the introduction in the draft of an exceptional derogation when it comes to the right of journalists not to be compelled to disclose a source of information. Limitations to the freedom of the media are dealt with in clause (3) of this article and there is no need for such special limitation. Clause (3) is similar to article 58(3) and the same concerns arise in regard to this clause. The workshop recommends formulating clause 3 more precisely to avoid any possibility of infringements to the right to freedom of the media.

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Clause (4) deals with the licensing not only of broadcasting but also of ‘other electronic media’ – which could mean that internet websites, for example, might be forced to undergo a licensing process. The workshop recommends deleting the words ‘and other electronic media’. Clause (5) deals with ‘licensing of any media’ in general. The workshop felt that this clause as it stands would open the way for statutory licensing of print (and internet) media. The workshop recommends either deleting this clause altogether or including the words ‘where applicable’ after the words ‘any media’. Finally, the workshop welcomed clause (6) which establishes an independent broadcasting authority. Consideration should also be given to introducing a similar constitutional guarantee for the independence of the public broadcaster.

Media legislation and regulation
• Parliament should repeal the following sections of the Penal Code: – 53 – 55 which empower the President to ban publications; – 57 and 60 which deal with sedition; – 191 to 198 of the Penal Code which criminalise defamation. • Parliament should review the following sections of the Penal Code: – 69 and 71 which give special protection to the President and foreign dignitaries against alleged defamation; – 116 which deals with contempt of court; – 177(1) of the Penal Code which deals with ‘obscene matters’ without properly defining obscenity. • Parliament should also review the State Security Act (in light of the fact that Zambia is no longer threatened by neighbouring countries) as well as the Anti-Terrorism Act in order to provide a precise definition of ‘terrorism’ and safeguard against possible abuse of the provisions of the Act. • Parliament should repeal sections 19 and 21 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act which grant parliament unreasonable protection against criticism. • Government should as a matter of urgency reintroduce the Freedom of Information Bill in parliament. If this does not happen in the near future,

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civil society organisations must consider alternative and more intensive strategies to exert stronger pressure on government to do so. • The Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) should be established immediately, regardless of opposing views or actions of government, and be fully supported by all the media. It must put all its efforts into convincing the public and media that a non-statutory, voluntary and self-regulating media council can exercise discernible authority and win the confidence of the nation. To this end: – the media industry as a whole and the entire media fraternity should support the council by complying with its code and findings as well as by financial contributions; – the council itself must embark on a broad campaign to make the public aware of its existence, its functions and the modalities of lodging complaints with the body; – the council must deal with complaints speedily and issue findings which enhance the standard of journalism in Zambia.

3
The Broadcasting Landscape

1

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act of 1987 established the ZNBC as a government-owned statutory corporation. The broadcaster operates three radio stations and two television stations. The second TV channel – TV2 – was officially launched on 15 January 2010. (For details see chapter 6.)

2

Commercial/private broadcasters

The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act no. 17 of 2002 defines ‘commercial broadcasting’ as ‘a broadcasting service operated for profit and controlled by a person who is not a public or community broadcaster’. In July 2010 the act was changed through the IBA (Amendment) Act no. 26 (further details in chapter 5). Section 23(1) of the Amendment Act says that a commercial broadcasting service is expected to provide:
a) a diverse range of programming addressing a wide section of the Republic; b) programming in the official language or in any other local language of the Republic widely spoken in the Republic or any particular area; c) within such period as the Board may specify, comprehensive coverage of the areas which the broadcasting licensee is authorised to serve; and d) such free-to-air broadcasting services as may be determined by the Board.

According to section 24(1) commercial broadcasting services are expected to ensure that they:

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a) reflect the culture, character, needs and aspirations of the people in the areas specified in the broadcasting licence; b) provide an appropriate amount of local or national programming; c) include news and information programmes on a regular basis, including discussion on matters of national, regional, and where appropriate, local significance; d) include significant portions of Zambian drama, documentaries and children’s programmes that reflect Zambian themes, literature and historical events; and e) meet the highest standards of journalistic professionalism.

Given the fact that the principal IBA Act was only passed in 2002, the emergence of private broadcasters since the liberalisation of the airwaves in 1992 can in no way be attributed to any structured policy or regulation. What is more, and as described in chapter 1, the regulatory authority is not operational yet because of a drawn-out court battle over the minister’s role in the appointment of board members. This has given the government a free hand in deciding, unilaterally and without any transparency, who is to be allowed on air in Zambia and who is not. The main commercial radio stations are the following: • Radio Phoenix, owned by a businessman, broadcasts on FM in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. It caters for a contemporary adult audience and also focuses on the young urban and educated group, with broadcasts exclusively in English. Since its establishment some 13 years ago the station has distinguished itself by its popular discussion programme Let the People Talk, broadcast every Tuesday and Friday morning. Within its area of coverage the station has a regular listenership of 63 per cent (36 per cent listened ‘yesterday’ and 27 during the ‘past seven days’48). • Radio Sky FM, also owned by a businessman, broadcasts from Monze (some 200 km south of Lusaka) up to Lusaka and parts of the Southern Province. It offers programmes in English and Tonga, the language widely spoken in the Southern Province, and is the only radio station in the area that provides 24-hour broadcasting services. Its listenership (within its footprint) is 58 per cent (27/31). • QFM Radio is owned by businessmen, covers a radius of about 150 km around Lusaka and broadcasts in English. Its programmes are aimed at youths and
48 The Steadman Group, Audience Research Survey Zambia, April 2009, p.18.

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the young working class and include news, entertainment (mainly western pop, R&B and hip-hop music), sports, phone-in discussions and Q talk, which discusses marital issues. The station has a listenership (within its coverage area) of 45 per cent (25/20). Zambezi FM Radio, run by a journalist, is located in Livingstone in the south-west of the country and broadcasts mostly contemporary music, light entertainment and some discussions. Hot FM, owned by a group of journalists, serves listeners in Lusaka and offers the latest western pop music, R&B, some Zambian pop music and light entertainment, all targeted at the youth. Its listenership is 44 per cent (24/20). 5FM Radio, owned by a professional broadcaster, also concentrates on Lusaka and surrounding areas within a radius of up to 150 km. 5FM Radio describes itself as an ‘adult contemporary radio station but not the noisy type’ and targets listeners aged 30 years and upwards. It broadcasts mainly in English, save for discussions on HIV and AIDS as well as on governance issues when callers are permitted to speak the language they feel most comfortable with and best able to express themselves. Under the motto ‘Freedom of expression for good’, 5FM Radio deliberately avoids broadcasting what it considers government propaganda items. It offers ‘independent’ news bulletins, quality adult music (of yesteryear, jazz, Congolese rumba and old school Zambian music), health programmes with a focus on HIV and AIDS, religious programmes on Sundays and ‘problems corner’, a problem-solving discussion programme in English, Bemba and Nyanja languages where callers phone in or send sms text messages. Your Anthem Radio, run by media practitioners, is located in Kitwe in the heart of the Copperbelt. The station broadcasts in English and reaches most of the Copperbelt in the south and Chingola in the north-west. Its programming includes three news bulletins, a musical entertainment package to suit a wide age range from morning to midday, music for young people in the afternoon and adult contemporary in the evening. The station broadcasts a number of sponsored programmes and advertisements. Radio Breeze FM, owned by a journalist and other investors, is located in Chipata in the east of Zambia and broadcasts to the surrounding districts within a radius of 120 km, where it has a listenership of 61 per cent (40/21). The station broadcasts in English and CiNyanja. Its programmes cover national, provincial and community news, sports, entertainment, health (especially HIV and AIDS), governance issues, community development including

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• •

agriculture, and cultural items. The station targets a wide range of audiences through suitably tailored programmes and is known for its community involvement in the production of programmes and other activities. Joy FM Radio, owned by a businessman, covers a radius of 200 km around Lusaka. The station provides programmes in English for ‘all age groups regardless of status’, covering current affairs, inspirational talks, political issues, social (including HIV and AIDS) and family issues, and sports. Its music menu ranges from old and current popular Zambian to international material. The station has a daily jazz music programme every lunch hour. Flava FM Radio is owned by a group of Zambians – an engineer, a businessman, a lawyer/broadcaster. The station is located in Kitwe in the Copperbelt and covers a geographical area of about 150 km Flava FM provides ‘infotainment consisting of 75 per cent music and 25 per cent talk, predominantly in English, but Bemba is also used’. The music played is a mixture of hits from the 1970s and 1980s, R&B, rock, house, jazz, soul, raga, kwaito, general African and Zambian. On BBC FM, the British Broadcasting Service transmits its world service in Lusaka. Radio France International broadcasts mostly news in French. It has some cultural French programmes, music and some English slots.

The free-to-air terrestrial commercial television stations are based in and broadcast from Lusaka: • Muvi TV, owned by a businessman, offers popular Zambian drama, music, a big dose of Philipino and Latin American soap operas with English voiceovers, Lusaka-based news events and American films and series as well as material from the German international service Deutsche Welle. From December 2009 the station has been broadcasting country-wide. Up to this date, its regular audience share within its area of coverage was 50 per cent, with 32 per cent of respondents saying they watched yesterday and 18 per cent during the last seven days. 49 • Mobi TV is owned by a group of business people whose company, Mobitel Zambia Limited, operates a direct-to-home satellite service in addition to freeto-air digital terrestrial broadcasts which currently cover a radius of 150 km around Lusaka. The station’s menu of programmes includes three news
49 Ibid., p. 36.

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bulletins, soap operas, music, documentaries, local talk shows, health, sports, business and entertainment news, political analysis and a news bulletin in French. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) TV is part of the American Trinity Broadcasting Network with stations located in different parts of the world featuring mainly American tele-evangelists, but allowing for local stations to add in local content. The Network’s audience share within its footprint is 72 per cent (36/36). CB TV is owned by an advertising company and offers mainly Zambian television dramas, discussions and some American films. The station is located in and broadcasts mainly to Ndola in the Copperbelt. CBC TV is run by business people and broadcasts mainly in English but also in seven main Zambian languages, particularly for traditional or cultural programmes. The station offers educational, entertainment and in-depth information programmes, with a bias towards business topics, both as a subject of discussions and live coverage. CBC TV broadcasts within a radius of 150 km around Lusaka, reaching Mazabuka district in the south, Mumbwa to the west, Chisamba to the north and Chongwe to the east of the capital. My TV is a satellite service which, at an affordable fee of about US$ 16 per month, offers a selection of 19 channels, with international television programmes from the BBC and Nigerian movies that have proved popular among Zambian viewers.

In addition, Zambians who can afford to pay the subscription fee of US$ 70 per month are able to watch the full bouquet transmitted by MultiChoice Zambia Limited (a joint venture of MultiChoice South Africa and the ZNBC, with the latter holding 49 per cent of the shares). There are also cheaper packages ranging between US$ 19 and US$ 28 for a monthly mini bouquet.

3

Community and religious broadcasting services

The original principal IBA Act of 2002 defined community broadcasting as a broadcasting service which:
(a) is fully controlled by a non-profit entity and carried on for non-profitable purposes; (b) serves a particular community;

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(c) encourages members of the community served by it or persons associated with or promoting the interests of such community to participate in the selection and provision of programmes to be broadcast; and (d) may be funded by donations, grants, sponsorship or advertising or membership fees, or by a combination of any of them.

Section 23(1)(b) of the Amendment Act of 2010 defines community broadcasting services as broadcasters that provide:
a) free-to-air radio broadcasting services; or b) free-to-air television services.

In its section 24(2), the IBA (Amendment) Act stipulates that a community broadcasting service should provide programming ‘that reflects the needs of the people in the community which shall include the cultural language and demographic needs’. A community broadcaster is expected to:
(a) provide a community broadcasting service dealing specifically with issues which are not predominantly dealt with by the broadcasting service covering the same area; (b) be informative, educational and entertaining; (c) focus on the provision of programmes that highlight grassroot community issues including developmental issues and general educational affairs, environmental affairs, local, international and current affairs, reflective of local culture; and (d) promote the development of a sense of common purpose and improved quality of life.

Section 24(3) defines religious broadcasters and says that these should reflect the religious beliefs and needs of the people and should:
(a) provide a community broadcasting service dealing specifically with religious issues; (b) be informative, educational and entertaining; (c) focus on the provision of programmes that highlight grassroot community issues including, developmental issues, health care, basic information and general educational and environmental affairs and other spiritual matters; and (d) promote the development of a sense of common religious purpose and improve the quality of life.

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In many cases the nature of ownership and management of community radio stations has remained nebulous. There is only one out of eight stations which call themselves ‘community radios’ – Radio Chikaya in Lundazi, a small rural district in the Eastern Province – which can rightfully claim to be a truly community-owned operation in the sense of the Act, said Fanwell Chembo, then national director of MISA-Zambia.50 Others, such as Radio Lyambai in Mongu (a provincial centre in the Western Province), have a mix of private and community ownership or, like Radio Petauke Explorers, are privately owned but claim to be community radio stations. Some stations are sponsored by donor organisations: Mazabuka Community Radio and Radio Mkushi by UNESCO and Radio Pasme by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). The ‘religious’ nature of some of the existing radio stations has generally been contentious, with the ministry of information and broadcasting services (MIBS) holding the view that such a station should strictly be a ‘pious radio’.51 The ten religious radio stations currently licensed by the ministry are owned and run by churches or religious organisations, seven of them Catholic dioceses. By granting the Catholic Church licences to operate such a large number of stations, with another two earmarked for opening within the next two years, the government has allowed a preponderance not just of religious stations as such, but of one denomination in particular, to develop in what is loosely termed the community radio sector. The 2009 audience research survey measured how many listeners had tuned in ‘yesterday’ to the various community or religious radios in their respective areas of coverage. The most popular turned out to be Radio Maria with a rating of 45 per cent, Radio Icengelo (42 per cent) and Mazabuka Community Radio (28 per cent). Catholic radio stations are autonomous in their operations (as dioceses are) but organisationally they fall under the Catholic Media Services, the communication ministry of the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC).52 Nearly all community and religious broadcasters are members of both MISA-Zambia and the Zambia Community Media Forum (ZaCoMeF). This enables them to effectively network and share ideas and common interests. ZaCoMeF has also initiated measures to upgrade the skills of community radio staff by securing the assistance of the Evelyn Hone College, the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) and the department of mass communication at the University of Zambia to develop a syllabus that would be used in training personnel drawn from community radio stations.
50 51 52 Interview with Fanwell Chembo, national director, MISA-Zambia, on 24 July 2008. Fr Paul Samasumo, Zambia Episcopal Conference spokesperson, 2008. Ibid.

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There are numerous problems that community radio stations encounter. Perhaps paramount among these is financial sustainability, which most have failed to achieve. Many community radio stations are located in areas where the advertising base is next to zero. Some challenges emanate from politicians and others from traditional leaders – all of whom would like to influence the direction of these stations and the kind of material they broadcast. The IBA (Amendment) Act in its section 22(1) provides that ‘the Board may issue a broadcasting licence subject to the provisions of this act and to such conditions as the Board may determine’. In this regard the act specifies technical issues such as the coverage area, equipment and fees. In the absence of the IBA and thus of concrete licence conditions for individual operators, under broader provisions of this section, it is easy for the authorities, as has been experienced, to take advantage of these unregulated requirements to threaten community and religious broadcasters they deem to be too critical of government with closure, ostensibly for not abiding by the ‘conditions of their broadcasting licences’.53 In July 2005 the permanent secretary in the MIBS, Emmanuel Nyirenda, sent a circular letter addressed to all non-state radio stations and two private television stations claiming that some of them had delved into programming contrary to their licences: ‘For instance, some religious and community radio stations have diverted from evangelical and social issues and are engaging in political programmes that are revealing partisan politics.’ He stated that any departure from regulations would result in suspension or revocation of licences. In May 2007 Southern Province minister Joseph Mulyata threatened Monze’s Sky FM with closure for what he called unethical and unprofessional broadcasting: ‘We can withdraw the licence if you continue propagating the views of the opposition. We gave you the licence to operate objectively but what we are seeing is that you are keen at propagating views of the opposition and some NGOs.’54 By and large community and religious radio stations offer what might be considered politically innocuous programming. For instance, a programme schedule of Mazabuka Community Radio lists slots such as Children’s Time, Nutritional Corner, Radio Drama, Your Health Matters, Business Round Up or Women’s Half Hour. Other programmes include Sports, Township Round Up, News Around Zambia, Talking About Our Culture, Agricultural Programme, Schools’ Debate, Community Environment, Dedication Time, Mental Health Awareness, Career Outlook, Friendly Voices, What Makes Me Excel, Bible for Today and Music/Song Requests.

53 54

The Post, 28 July 2005. Zambia Daily Mail, 7 May 2007.

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Religious community stations, on the other hand, typically run programme segments such as meditation moments, matters of faith, Saint of the Day, songs of praise, story time for children, the Bible today and church history.

4 Technical standard and accessibility of services
The radio and television programmes of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) are produced in the capital Lusaka and in Kitwe, the economic hub of the Copperbelt. They are broadcast through a network of regional repeater transmitter stations located in all nine provincial centres of the country and currently reach about 80 per cent of the territory.55 The signals are carried from headquarters in Lusaka to the transmitter stations by microwave link infrastructure owned until recently by parastatal Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL). (It will be interesting to see how the new owners of the company, Lap Green Networks, will service this infrastructure.) The Kitwe studio has full radio and television production facilities but broadcasts its programmes via the national transmission network controlled from Lusaka. Partly because of terrain and partly because of a lack of political will, some outlying rural areas have for a long time only been receiving sporadic signals or no ZNBC signals at all. The ZNBC management sought to redress the situation by importing appropriate antennae which were installed and commissioned in October 2008. While this should have effectively ensured that radio signals reach all parts of the country, signal reception is still poor from 18h00 onwards. An ongoing rural television project, intended to transmit television signals to all districts of Zambia for the first time in 40 years, is also under way, though without firm timelines. Completion of the project is hampered by the fact that many areas are not yet connected to the power grid. So the project progresses as and when rural areas access electricity. The other broadcasters – private/commercial or community – have only limited coverage. Community radio stations are restricted by their licence conditions to a coverage area of between 80 and 150 km Most of the private/commercial radio stations are concentrated in the capital. Lusaka-based Radio Phoenix is the one with the largest reach, operating five repeater transmitters that provide good signals in the capital and the industrial heartland of Zambia, the Copperbelt. Sky FM has repeater transmitter stations between Lusaka and Choma which push these signals right up to Livingstone at the far end of the Southern Province.
55 Interview with Edward Mwanza, ZNBC’s director of Technical Services, on 7 November 2008.

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In December 2009 the government granted Muvi Television Station a licence to broadcast country-wide. There was no official explanation for this development. To receive the satellite signals, viewers have to buy a smart card at a cost of K 12 000 (US$ 2.37) per decoder per month. A major constraint on all broadcasters’ efforts to take their signals to all parts of the country is the non-availability of electricity or the unreliability of supply. Less than 20 per cent of Zambians and only 3.1 per cent of people in the rural areas have access to electricity56 – a figure which is even more striking when one considers that 61 per cent of the population resides in rural areas.57 It is a standing operating requirement by the licensing authority that every radio station in whatever category must have a stand-by generator for power supply at all times. Any station found without such a generator is liable to temporary closure. ZNBC’s main studios obtained state-of-the-art production equipment in 1982 when the mass media complex was commissioned. Now, 27 years later, Edward Mwanza, the director of Technical Services at the ZNBC, says that the technical standard of equipment has not kept pace with the rapid changes in technology over this period.58 For television operations, for example, the ZNBC has 11 cameras that are shared by the news crew, the Zambian languages section and the commercial department and only seven editing suites which are used by the marketing, news and commercial sections. In the radio sector, only ten out of 22 studios are digitalised. Commercial and community radios generally have more advanced equipment – for the simple reason of being younger than the ZNBC. Radio Phoenix for example, says its general manager, Kathryn Mwondela,59 has adequate production equipment using both analogue and digital technologies – albeit not the latest on the market. The situation is similar at Yatsani Radio, the University of Zambia’s UNZA FM Radio, Evelyn Hone College’s Hone FM and many other radio stations. These stations though, like most community radios, urgently need digital equipment in order to produce quality sound. MISA-Zambia has embarked on a major technical assistance programme for community radios. Funded by Irish Aid and Diakonia (a development cooperation organisation of six Swedish churches), eleven (out of 18) stations received equipment such as FM transmitters, generator sets or computers in the course of 2009.60 The government also intends establishing a Media Revolving Fund to help broadcasters upgrade their equipment. The proposal formed part of the Fifth National Development

56 57 58 59 60

National Budget Address by Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, minister of finance and national planning, in the National Assembly of Zambia on 30 January 2009. Republic of Zambia, Central Statistical Office, Living Conditions Monitoring Survey, December 2005, p. 13. Interview with Edward Mwanza, director of Technical Services, ZNBC, on 7 November 2008. Interview with Kathryn Mwondela, general manager, Radio Phoenix, on 13 November 2008. Interview with Brian M. Lingela, MISA-Zambia’s manager for broadcasting and information, on 31 October 2008.

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Plan (FNDP) for 2006–2010, but it seems doubtful whether the minister in charge will be able to put it into practice within the remaining period of time.

5

Concentration of media ownership

The IBA Act in article 5(2)(a) mandates the Independent Broadcasting Authority ‘to promote a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting industry in Zambia’ and article 5(2)(b) (ii) stipulates that in issuing licences the IBA has to give ‘due regard to the need to discourage monopolies in the industry in accordance with the Competition and Fair Trading Act’. MIBS permanent secretary Nyirenda qualified the provision by arguing that it was not a ‘prohibition’ of concentration of media ownership, and that discretion could be applied in such decisions.61 In practice the Zambian government is the biggest proprietor of media in the country. It owns (and still controls) the ZNBC radio and television stations, the Times of Zambia, Sunday Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and Sunday Mail newspapers. In addition the government publishes, though infrequently, Zambian language provincial newspapers Imbila, Intanda, Liseli, Lukanga, Ngoma and Tsopano, and also operates the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), a local news service agency. Through the ZNBC, it holds a 49 per cent share in the private subscription TV service MultiChoice Zambia. The government, obviously, is not too keen to relinquish its dominant position in the broadcasting market. In a submission to the parliamentary committee on information and broadcasting services in September 2008, the MIBS said that government did not allow private radio and television stations to cover the whole country because the concept of liberalisation of the airwaves was not meant to bring about competition for the ZNBC. National private broadcasters would be most likely to use English to reach a national audience and thus would not help fill the gap in local language services left by the national broadcaster. The committee, however, recommended that licences should be granted to private television and radio stations as long as the operators have the capacity to cover the whole country62 and the executive has since indicated a change of stance on the matter:

61 Interview Nyirenda, op.cit. 62 Republic of Zambia, National Assembly, Report of the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services, September 2008, pp. 32–33.

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Government will review the licence system so as to allow existing and new broadcasters, both radio and television, to cover more of the country in terms of signal coverage. We want to see competition in this sector.63

Citing media concentration as a reason, the Zambia Episcopal Conference was refused a television broadcasting licence. The ZEC is the apex body of the ten Catholic archdioceses and dioceses. As outlined above, seven of these already have their own community radio stations. In two instances the government directed applicants to set up their stations outside the capital city so as to give rural communities access to radio services. In 2003, the government granted a broadcasting licence to the Seventh Day Adventist Church for a station in Kabwe, some 140 km north of Lusaka, and in 2001 to Sky FM for a station in Monze, some 180 km south of the capital ‘because of the lack of frequencies in Lusaka’.

6 Conclusions and recommendations
The provisions on commercial and community broadcasting in the IBA Act 2002 adequately conform to Article 5(1) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa which reads ‘States shall encourage a diverse, independent private broadcasting sector’. In Zambia, however, the development of the sector has happened in a haphazard manner, purely at the government’s own discretion. With the IBA still not in place, government continues to regulate the industry and intervene directly. It would appear that in the absence of a definitive broadcasting policy in Zambia, development of the industry is left to the prevailing circumstances or politicaleconomic dynamics. There is urgent need to formulate a broadcasting policy that would guide development of the industry. Media associations such as MISA-Zambia, PAZA, ZAMWA and also the Catholic Media Services have strongly campaigned for media pluralism in terms of diversity of both ownership and content/programme formats. The government, however, has not developed any structured policies to regulate or prevent concentration of media ownership. This is not in line with article 14(3) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, which says: ‘States should adopt effective measures to avoid undue concentration of media ownership, although such measures shall not
63 Address by President R.B. Banda during the official opening of parliament on 16 January 2009.

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be so stringent that they inhibit the development of the media sector as a whole.’ The location of commercial radio and television stations is determined by the amount of economic activity in various commercial areas and their expected profitability, rather than the need to provide equal access to broadcasting services. Community broadcasting in Zambia is still relatively new and faces many challenges. Many promoters rushed into this terrain without fully grasping the principles of community broadcasting or without the required practical knowledge of running a radio station. In addition, most community stations have found it difficult to sustain themselves because of weak organisational structures and an inadequate marketing base. While the broadcasting industry is expanding, this expansion is not matched by the provision and use of broadcasting equipment that is both modern and in sufficient supply. There is a dire need to find ways of financing procurement of new equipment to replace archaic hardware and to upgrade technology. This would greatly assist in making media operations more sustainable. However, repairing such technologically advanced equipment would also be a great problem because technical expertise and spare parts are sadly lacking in the country.

recommendations
• The IBA must be constituted and must be made operational so that it can carry out its mandate without further delay. • Once established, the IBA should initiate the process of drawing up a comprehensive broadcasting policy to guide the development of the industry. • The IBA should also develop a clear policy on community radio (and television). Such a policy and the regulatory requirements based on it must clearly distinguish community broadcasting from private commercial and public service broadcasting. • The development of a policy on media concentration is overdue. It should clearly define ‘monopolies’ and ‘cross-media ownership’. This, however, should not be done at the expense of inhibiting the growth of the media sector. • Opportunities must be explored for the establishment of radio stations whose objectives are orientated more towards communication for development and the promotion of indigenous programmes, rather than those driven exclusively by economic motives.

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• The IBA must develop effective measures to protect all sectors of broadcasting against interference by government. • MISA and government should be encouraged to further assist with the upgrading of technical equipment for all sectors of broadcasting. Mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that the government’s planned Revolving Media Fund is not used to grant favours to operators who are sympathetic to the ruling party.

4
Digitalisation and its Impact

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations agency tasked with coordinating global telecommunications and services, has set a deadline of 17 June 2015 for broadcasters in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Islamic Republic of Iran to migrate to digital television broadcasting technology, on both the transmission and the reception side. The ITU deadline refers only to the digitalisation of television broadcasting. Deadlines for the digitalisation of radio have not yet been determined. The ITU sees the digitalisation of broadcasting as a means of establishing a more equitable, just and people-centred information society, leapfrogging ‘existing technologies to connect the unconnected in underserved and remote communities and close the digital divide’.64 The switch-over from analogue to digital broadcasting will expand the potential for a greater convergence of services, with digital terrestrial broadcasting supporting mobile reception of video, internet and multimedia data. Digitalisation of television is seen as a means of enhancing the viewer’s experience by enabling better quality viewing through wide-screen, high definition pictures and surround sound, as well as interactive services. It also allows for innovations such as handheld TV broadcasting devices (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld, or DVB-H), and will mean greater bandwidth for telecommunication services.65 Importantly, it will also allow for the creation of many more television and radio channels through greater spectrum efficiency.

64 ‘Digital broadcasting set to transform the communication landscape by 2015’, June 2006, http://www.itu.int/ newsroom/press_releases/2006/11.html. 65 Ibid.

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1

Preparedness for the switch-over

In March 2007, the Zambian government announced a National Information and Communication Technology Policy. The ministry of communications and transport, under which the Zambia Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ZICTA) falls, is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the implementation of this policy. The policy was developed to respond to the rapid technological advances in telecommunications, information technology, broadcasting, and the convergence of technologies. Its stated aims are, among others, to facilitate the implementation of constitutional provisions related to information and communication; to create leadership and vision in the ICT sector; to provide a clear definition of roles and responsibilities among stakeholders; to support the creation of adequate and effective sector legislation and a regulatory framework; to ensure rational and harmonised application of ICTs and use of scarce resources, and to enhance the country’s competitiveness in the global information society and economy. In August 2008 government established a multi-sectoral national committee comprising representatives from the MIBS,66 the Communications Authority of Zambia and broadcasting houses to plan and recommend strategies for a smooth migration. The committee held a number of meetings, but a detailed plan of action or blueprint to direct the migration has not yet been released. What is clear, however, is that the switch-over will entail a policy review in respect of the functioning of the Communications Authority of Zambia, which regulates frequencies, and the IBA which, when activated, is supposed to regulate broadcasting. According to the director (communications) in the ministry of transport and communications, Victor Mbumwae,67 most of the new broadcasting stations are prepared for the migration and are already procuring equipment to facilitate the switch-over. For its part the ZNBC has established an internal committee to spearhead preparatory work towards digitalisation and set 2014 as its own deadline for migration. The objective of this early date is to enable the corporation to monitor the change and rectify any operational problems or shortcomings ahead of 2015. When the national date for the switch-over is finally set and all groundwork completed, the public will be expected to procure television set-top boxes (STBs) to receive digital signals. The MIBS hopes that, given the large numbers of STBs required, government might succeed in securing volume discounts from suppliers and
66 Interview with E.N. Nyirenda, permanent secretary, MIBS, on 17 October 2008. 67 Interview with Victor Mbumwae, director (communications), ministry of transport and communications, on 17 November 2008.

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such discounts would trickle down to the customers. The private sector is expected to play a major role in sourcing, funding and importing set-top boxes on behalf of the public. Government has neither the intention nor the capacity to finance or subsidise the cost of procuring STBs.68 On 7 June 2010, the MIBS minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha, said in an interview69 that government had set up an inter-ministerial task force to spearhead the process. According to the minister, member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had adopted a united approach towards digital migration and set December 2013 as the deadline for the switch-over. This would give SADC-member countries ample time to sort out any policy, regulatory and operational challenges ahead of the June 2015 date set by the ITU. The minister informed parliament in July 2010 that the terms of reference of this task force included, among others, the formulation of a switch-over strategy, overseeing the programme, identifying likely tailbacks to the uptake of the digital terrestrial television broadcast, making recommendations on the STBs, formulating consumer awareness strategies, addressing consumers’ complaints and recommending policy measures relating to the network and licensing. Ngosa Chisupa, permanent secretary, MIBS, said in an interview for this study 70 that the entire digital switch-over would over time cost more than US$ 10 billion.

2

Convergence

Mobile phones can be used for the reception of radio and television, with three mobile operators using third generation (3G) technology. Although there are currently interactive features on television, it is not yet possible to use them because technical adjustments have not been completed. At present listeners and viewers are only able to send sms text messages to radio and television studios via mobile phones. With convergence there will be an increasing need to review the policy and regulatory functions of the IBA and the Zambia Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ZICTA) so as to avoid overlap and to streamline their operations.

68 Interview Nyirenda, op.cit., and with Edward Mwanza, director of Technical Services, ZNBC, on 7 November 2008. 69 Zambia Daily Mail, 8 June 2010. 70 14 July 2010.

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3

Increased competition

Zambia secured 457 digital television frequencies during the ITU’s Radio Communication Conference in 2006, where a digital terrestrial TV broadcasting plan was developed. This number of frequencies is regarded as sufficient for the country. Previously Lusaka, for example, had only one very high frequency (VHF) and five ultra-high (UHF) frequencies assigned to it, but in terms of the new plan Lusaka will have a total of 16. The additional ten frequencies will open up space for more television operators and channels, and Zambian language programmes. To manage this increased competition government and the regulators still need to develop and effect major policy changes.

4 Conclusions and recommendations
Public information on the switch-over from analogue to digital broadcasting in Zambia is non-existent. As a consequence, awareness – even among television operators – of the rapidly approaching ITU deadline of 2015 and all that it entails is extremely low. The earlier deadline of December 2013 agreed upon by the SADC is even tighter, given the fact that digital migration will require substantial capital investment both at national and individual broadcaster level. Consumers are left in the dark on the whole process. Late provision of essential information will place them at a serious disadvantage and under pressure to buy STBs or digital sets without proper planning, and they could easily be exploited by dealers. Mandates, functions and responsibilities of the IBA and ZICTA may overlap in the era of digitalisation and thus must be reviewed. There are no regulations in place to ensure that competition among broadcasters takes place fairly on a level playing field.

recommendations
The government will need to monitor closely the national task force to spearhead the efforts and plans towards digital migration, and focus, among other tasks, on the following priorities: • Develop a clear roadmap towards the (national) deadline of 2013 in consultation with all stakeholders – broadcasters, signal distributors and consumers in particular;

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• Step up public awareness for the digital migration process through a publicprivate partnership; • Set suitable specifications for STBs to be imported; • Devise measures to ensure that importers offer television sets that are HD ready to receive signals without the STB, to prevent people from investing unnecessarily in equipment that will soon be obsolete. In addition government should waive import duty on STBs; • Ensure protection for vulnerable media and vulnerable communities who risk being permanently switched off due to the unaffordability of STBs or the costs payable to the signal distributor; • Consider zero-rating tax on digital broadcasting equipment to enable broadcasting houses to purchase more digital equipment. This facility could be granted for a limited period.

5
Broadcasting Legislation and Regulation

1

The Independent Broadcasting Authority

Up until 2002, powers in regard to broadcasting regulations rested exclusively with the minister of information and broadcasting services. According to section 27(1) of the Zambia National Broadcasting (ZNBC) Act of 1987 ‘no person other than the Corporation (i.e. the ZNBC) shall operate a broadcasting service in Zambia otherwise than in accordance with … a licence issued by the Minister’. Section 31 gave the minister the power ‘at any time’ to ‘cancel or refuse to issue a licence or to renew a licence … in the public interest’. In 2002, these provisions were repealed by the ZNBC Amendment Act 2002 and the Zambia Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act 2002 was passed. The IBA Act establishes the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). Its section 6 reads: ‘Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Authority shall not be subject to the direction of any other person or authority.’ According to the Act the functions of the IBA are:
a) to promote a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting industry in Zambia; b) to establish guidelines – i. for the development of broadcasting in Zambia through a public process which shall determine the needs of citizens and social groups in regard to broadcasting; ii. for the issuing of licences, giving due regard to the need to discourage monopolies in the industry in accordance with the Competition and Fair Trading Act; iii. on the required levels of local content and other issues that are relevant for a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting industry;

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c) to safeguard the rational and efficient use of the frequencies allocated to broadcasters by developing a frequency plan for broadcasting, which shall be a public document, in compliance with international conventions; d) to grant, renew, suspend and cancel licences and frequencies for broadcasting and diffusion services in an open and transparent manner; e) to enforce the compliance of broadcasting and diffusion services with the conditions of the licences issued under this Act; f) to issue to any or all broadcasters, advisory opinions relating to broadcasting standards and ethical conduct in broadcasting; g) to oblige broadcasters to develop codes of practice and monitor compliance with those codes; h) to develop programme standards relating to broadcasting in Zambia and to monitor and enforce compliance with those standards; i) to receive, investigate and decide on complaints concerning broadcasting services including public service broadcasting services; j) to develop regulations in regard to advertising, sponsorship, local content, and media diversity and ownership; k) to perform such other functions as may be conferred on it by this and any other Act; and l) to do all such other acts and things as are connected with or incidental to the functions of the Authority under this Act.

Funding for the IBA is to come from ‘such moneys as may be appropriated by Parliament … grants, subsidies, bequests, donations, and fees payable in respect of licences’. For the IBA to accept grants, donations or loans ‘from any source outside Zambia’, however, the minister has to give his/her approval (section 39). In July 2010 the government tabled a bill to amend the IBA Act of 2002. Although both the parliamentary committee on information and broadcasting and members of the opposition parties objected to some of the changes, the bill was passed by parliament shortly afterwards with the majority vote of the ruling party in the house. Under the original IBA Act of 2002, an appointments committee was put in charge of the selection of nine part-time members of the IBA board. This committee comprised one member each nominated by the Law Association, an NGO active in the field of human rights, religious organisations, a media support organisation and the ministry responsible for broadcasting. It would invite applications, interview applicants, select candidates and submit a recommendation to that effect to the minister of information and broadcasting services (section 8) who was to pass the list of candidates on to

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parliament for ratification. Once the board was ratified by parliament, the board itself elected the chairperson and his/her deputy. Now, section 6 of the IBA (Amendment) Act no. 26 of 2010 simply states: ‘The Board shall consist of nine part-time members appointed by the Minister.’ The provision for an ad hoc appointments committee in the principal act thus falls away altogether. The board members shall be ‘committed to fairness, freedom of expression, openness and accountability’ and ‘when viewed collectively … representative of a broad cross section of the population of the Republic’. A person who ‘is a member of Parliament or local authority; is an office-bearer or employee of any political party; is a director or has direct or indirect financial interest in the broadcasting industry; or is an immediate family member of a person’ with such political party or broadcasting industry affiliation, is not allowed to be appointed to the board (section 7[5] of the principal act). IBA board members have to disclose their interest when a matter is under consideration in which they or any member of their immediate family are ‘interested in a private capacity’. They are not allowed to take part in the deliberations or any vote on the issue (section 14). The same section also provides for a cooling off period to be observed by board members who vacate office: ‘A member may not become a shareholder or otherwise participate as an applicant for a broadcasting licence within twelve months of ceasing to be a member of the Board.’ In accordance with the process prescribed in the original act, the appointments committee drew up and duly submitted a list of board members to the minister in the second half of 2003. After lengthy correspondence over some appointees on the list that the minister objected to, she refused to pass on the names to parliament for ratification in May 2004. As a result the IBA could not be set up. Media organisations then applied to the High Court to compel the minister to submit the list to the National Assembly. The judge decided in their favour in December 2004.71 Government appealed to the Supreme Court and won in March 2007.72 The Supreme Court ruled that the word ‘recommendation’ implied discretion on the part of the person to whom it is made to either accept or reject such recommendation. Therefore, the minister was not bound by the recommendations of the appointments committee and had de facto a right to veto nominations. ‘But once the board has been established’, the court found, ‘then it becomes independent and in its operation is beyond the control of the Minister or any other authority or person as provided for in section 6 of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act no. 17 of 2002.’
71 72 Fanwell Chembo et al v. The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Case no. 2004/HP/0512. Supreme Court Zambia, Appeal no. 76/2005.

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By July 2010, however, three years after the court decision and six years after the act had come into force, the IBA board had still not been established. A draft constitution, released by the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) in June 2010, takes up the model of an independent broadcasting authority and enjoins parliament to establish such an authority ‘to regulate broadcasting in the public interest’. (For more details see chapter 2.)

2

Licensing of broadcasters and enforcement of licence conditions

The IBA Act of 2002 provides for three categories of broadcasting services that need to be licensed: commercial broadcasting services, community or religious broadcasting services and subscription broadcasting services. Section 22(1) of the IBA (Amendment) Act 2010 defines entities that are not entitled to apply for a broadcasting licence in the same way as the original act by stating that ‘a political party or organisation or a legal entity formed by a political party or organisation does not qualify to provide a broadcasting service’. Equally, ‘a person who is not a citizen of Zambia does not qualify to provide a broadcasting service’. A ’citizen of Zambia’ in relation to a body corporate is defined as ‘a company in which not less than seventy five percent of shares are held by citizens of Zambia’. For additional broadcasting services to be introduced, the authority – after consultation with the Zambia Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ZICTA) – has to publish ‘a notice in the [Government] Gazette and in a daily newspaper of general circulation in Zambia inviting applications to provide the broadcasting services specified in the notice’ (section 20[1] of the Act). According to section 21(2) an applicant is to be notified within 30 days of submission of the application whether the licence has been granted or declined. An applicant for a licence needs to fulfill a number of technical requirements listed in regulations issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting services (MIBS), i.e:
1) prove his/her financial ability to construct the station and operate for one year after construction is completed; 2) fully describe the proposed technical facilities; 3) indicate the percentage of local programming content, i.e. economic, social and cultural events in Zambia.73
73 F.P. Kasoma, Community Radio – Its Management and Organisation in Zambia, MISA-Zambia, 2002, p. 317.

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If several applicants are found to be equally qualified except for programme considerations, the best applicant will be selected based on an assessment of the proposed overall programming most likely and best able to advance local or regional content.74 While the IBA has ‘to safeguard the rational and efficient use of the frequencies allocated to broadcasters by developing a frequency plan for broadcasting’, section 49 prescribes that broadcasters also have to comply with the Radiocommunications Act 1994 and the Telecommunications Act 1994 (since replaced by the Information and Communication Technologies Act no. 15 of 2009). The new act established the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority which is responsible for allocating frequencies ‘in consultation with’ the IBA. However, individual applicants do not have to approach both authorities separately, because approval of the application by the IBA includes the allocation of frequencies. The minister has an important and far-reaching say: According to section 47 of the IBA Act, he/she may, ‘on the recommendation of the Authority’, make regulations for ‘the form of licences, the terms and conditions subject to which the licences shall be issued and the periods for which licences shall remain in force’ as well as on ‘the fees payable under the Act’. Subscription services ‘may not acquire exclusive rights to the broadcasting of any national, sporting, or other event which is identified, by the Board, to be in the public interest’ (section 23[1][c]). Compliance with these and other licence conditions can be enforced by the IBA ‘with a warning of the measures that the broadcaster … should undertake within a specified period’ to rectify any shortcomings. This can be followed up by the suspension or cancellation of the licence if the operator does not act on such a notice. Section 29 of the IBA (Amendment) Act outlines eleven reasons why the broadcasting licence can be suspended or cancelled – including ‘in the interest of public safety, security, peace, welfare or good order’, ‘the Board considers it appropriate in the circumstances of the case to do so’, ‘the broadcasting licensee provides a broadcasting service that the broadcasting licensee is not licensed to provide’, and a broadcasting licensee having been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six months or more. The IBA (Amendment) Act also provides for an appeal mechanism for a person who is aggrieved with a decision of the IBA board. The person may appeal to the minister within 30 days and if not satisfied appeal to the High Court within another 30 days. Previously, the Principal Act provided for simply, ‘Any decision of the Authority under this section shall be subject to judicial review.’
74 Ibid.

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If ‘there is in force a proclamation of a state of public emergency or threatened public emergency under the constitution’, the IBA Act in its section 32 provides for the country’s president to authorise the
(a) take over of all broadcasting stations or any particular broadcasting station in Zambia; and (b) to control and direct all broadcasting stations or a broadcasting station to which the provisions of paragraph (a) relate for so long as the President considers it expedient.

With the IBA not operational yet, the efficacy of the body and all the provisions outlined above still have to be tested. In the meantime all licensing powers de facto remain with the minister.

3

Complaints and conflict resolution systems

The IBA Act in its sections 33 to 38 provides an elaborate procedure for lodging and resolving complaints against any broadcasters. Section 33 requires all broadcasters to ‘develop a code of professional standards … with the following minimum requirements’:
(a) respect for human dignity and human rights and freedoms, and contribution to the tolerance of different opinions and beliefs; (b) comprehensive, unbiased and independent news broadcast and current affairs programmes with commentary clearly distinguished from news; (c) observance of procedures for correcting factual errors and redressing unfairness; (d) observance of the principle of the right to reply; (e) protection of the integrity of minors by clearly classifying and distributing programmes that could endanger the development of a child in a way with the least possibility for a child to use it; and (f) clear separation of advertisements from other programme outputs.

A listener or viewer who is aggrieved by any broadcast and wants to complain needs to approach the broadcaster concerned who has to check whether its programming was in breach of its code of professional standards. If the broadcaster does not react within

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14 days or the complainant considers the response ‘to be inadequate’, that person may approach the IBA (section 34). If the Authority is convinced that the complaint was submitted in good faith and not later than three months after the broadcast in question, it will investigate the matter by, for example, examining sound and video recordings which have to be kept by broadcasters for at least three months. Where the complaint is justified, the IBA will ‘recommend’ that the broadcaster take ‘action to comply with the relevant code of practice’ and to broadcast ‘an apology or retraction’ (section 36). If the licensee does not comply with the recommendation, the IBA ‘shall apply to the High Court for an order compelling [the licensee] to remedy the default’ (section 37). Again, with the IBA not in place yet, these procedures remain untested in practice.

4 Conclusions and recommendations
The Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa states in article VII:
1. Any public authority that exercises powers in the areas of broadcast or telecommunications regulation should be independent and adequately protected against interference, particularly of a political or economic nature. 2. The appointments process for members of a regulatory body should be open and transparent, involve the participation of civil society, and shall not be controlled by any particular political party.

The provisions of the original IBA Act of 2002 went a long way towards ensuring that the appointment of the IBA board was done in a transparent manner and involved civil society. However, the IBA (Amendment) Act of 2010 now gives the minister of information and broadcasting services the right to appoint board members at his or her own discretion. The new act is thus in breach of the Declaration. With regard to complaints procedures, article IX of the Declaration states:
1. A public complaints system for print or broadcasting should be available in accordance with the following principles: • complaints shall be determined in accordance with established rules and codes of conduct agreed between all stakeholders; and • the complaints system shall be widely accessible.

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2. Any regulatory body established to hear complaints about media content, including media councils, shall be protected against political, economic or any other undue interference. Its powers shall be administrative in nature and it shall not seek to usurp the role of the courts. 3. Effective self-regulation is the best system for promoting high standards in the media.

The IBA Act offers an interesting combination of both self-regulation – with broadcasters developing their own codes of professional standards and procedures to deal with complaints – and a regulatory system set up by the broadcasting authority that only kicks in when a broadcaster will not or does not address a complaint from a member of the public itself.

recommendations
• Media organisations should continue to advocate for an IBA that is truly independent, transparent, accountable and credible. • After the enactment of the IBA (Amendment) Act of 2010, media organisations should monitor its implementation closely, assess its impact on the performance of the regulator and possibly start a campaign to change the provisions on the appointment procedure for the IBA board. • Notwithstanding the grave concerns over the new appointment procedures, the government urgently needs to clear the way for the IBA to take up its work. • Once established, the IBA and its board must work very astutely to win the trust and confidence of media houses and the public. They need to be seen as an impartial body independent of the government and other political or economic influences, seeking to facilitate an enabling broadcasting environment in the interest of the public. They will also have to exhibit an exemplary level of even-handedness and fair play in relation to all stakeholders in the broadcasting industry. • The IBA, in consultation with stakeholders and the public, should develop clear criteria for the licensing of broadcasters and licence conditions that address, among others, the issue of local content for radio and television. • The IBA and the broadcasting industry must make sure that audiences are well informed about the complaints procedures provided for in the IBA Act and the various codes of professional standards.

6
The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation

1

Legislation

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Act no. 20 of 2002 and ZNBC (Amendment) Act no. 16 of 2010, as read with the Zambia National Broadcasting Act of 1987, regulate the state broadcaster. The ZNBC Act of 1987 provided for the establishment of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation as a government owned statutory corporation. According to this act the following were the main functions of the Corporation:
a) to carry on broadcasting services for the information, education and entertainment of all listeners in Zambia; b) subject to the direction of the minister, to carry on broadcasting services for such purposes as the minister may specify for reception by listeners outside Zambia; c) to carry on or operate i. such other services including diffusion services; and ii. such undertakings which in the opinion of the board are incidental or conducive to the exercise of the functions as the board may consider expedient.

Section 4 of the Act empowered the minister in charge of broadcasting to appoint the board of directors as well as its chairperson and to give the board general or specific directions with respect to the carrying out of the functions of the ZNBC (section 7). The board was entitled to appoint the director-general and other staff. For the

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appointment or dismissal of the director-general, it had to seek the approval of the minister (section 17[1][b]). Media groups and other civil society organisations as well as a number of parliamentarians had been lobbying for the establishment of a truly independent public service broadcaster in Zambia since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1992. These efforts led to the passing of the ZNBC (Amendment) Act in 2002. In its section 7 this act lists new functions for the public service broadcaster. The ZNBC is to:
(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) provide varied and balanced programming for all sections of the population; serve the public interest; meet high professional quality standards; offer programmes that provide information, entertainment and education; contribute to the development of free and informed opinions and as such, constitute an important element of the democratic process; (f) reflect, as comprehensively as possible, the range of opinions and political, philosophical, religious, scientific, and artistic trends; (g) reflect and promote Zambia’s national culture, diversity and unity; (h) respect human dignity and human rights and freedoms and contribute to the tolerance of different opinions and beliefs; (i) further international understanding and the public’s sense of peace and social justice; (j) defend democratic freedoms; (k) enhance the protection of the environment; (l) contribute to the realisation of equal treatment between men and women; (m) broadcast news and current affairs programmes which shall be comprehensive, unbiased and independent and commentary which shall be clearly distinguished from news; (n) promote productions of Zambian origin; and (o) carry on or operate such other services including diffusion services and undertakings as in the opinion of the Board are conducive to the exercise of its functions under the Act.

The same Act of 2002 prescribed that the board of the ZNBC was to be ‘appointed by the Minister, on the recommendation of the appointments committee, subject to ratification by the National Assembly’. The appointments committee consisted of one member each nominated by the Law Association of Zambia, a non-governmental organisation active in human rights, by religious organisations and the ministry

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responsible for information and broadcasting. The committee was supposed to invite applications, interview applicants, select candidates and submit a recommendation to that effect to the minister, who was expected to pass on the names of the selected candidates to parliament for ratification. Once the list had been ratified by parliament, the board itself, comprising nine part-time members, was to elect the chairperson and his/her deputy. In March 2010 the government quite unexpectedly introduced and passed the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Bill, no. 6 in parliament, and the president signed it into law on 13 April 2010. A close reading of the Act which, on the face of it, deals with the introduction of a television levy, shows that it also implies an important change in the way the ZNBC board is constituted. Any mention of the ‘appointments committee’ has been deleted. The ad hoc committee established by the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2002, made up of representatives of civil society and mandated to nominate the members of the ZNBC board, had been widely heralded as a welcome development by media practitioners and civil society organisations. The new Amendment Act repeals section 4A of the 2002 Act and thus the establishment of the ad hoc appointments committee. Consequently, the power of appointing nine part time members of the ZNBC board reverted to the minister of information and broadcasting services once more as provided for in the ZNBC principal act of 1987. To make things worse, the minister is no longer required to submit names of the ZNBC board to parliament for ratification. In a submission to the parliamentary committee on information and broadcasting services prior to the passing of the bill, MISA-Zambia had argued that the appointments committee should remain ‘to ensure that citizens of the country can have a stake in the public service broadcaster … This is the only way it is justified for the citizens to be obligated by the law to contribute financially to the operations and running of ZBC’.75 Obviously the argument failed to convince lawmakers. A provision in the principal act that a person who ‘is a Member of Parliament or local authority; is an office-bearer or employee of any political party; is a director or has direct or indirect financial interest in the broadcasting industry; or is an immediate family member of a person’ with such political party or broadcasting industry affiliation, is not allowed to be appointed to the board was not changed. A range of powers previously exercised by the minister in terms of the 1987 Act were removed through the 2002 Amendment Act, but the minister’s position has been strengthened by the 2010 Amendment Act as he or she is once more responsible for appointing the board of directors.
75 Quoted from zambia24.com, 9 April 2010.

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For the time being the government is still getting directly involved in the running of the ZNBC. For example, the MIBS directed station managers of all commercial and community radio stations as well as the ZNBC to desist from broadcasting phone-in programmes during the pre-election period in 2008 ‘to protect non-participants from insults and accusations that cannot be rebutted by callers’.76 The ZNBC dutifully obliged. The broadcaster now provides a mobile phone number and asks listeners or viewers to send their comments or questions via sms text only, thus making it possible to ‘edit’ opinions.

2

Profile of the ZNBC

ZNBC operates three radio and two television channels. Radio 1 transmits on short wave (SW) countrywide and on FM in the main industrial and commercial areas and the country’s nine provincial centres. It broadcasts in seven main Zambian languages: Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja and Tonga, and targets the rural communities. Its programming offers coverage of cultural and traditional events, discussions, and news and current affairs. Most of the news and current affairs content is translated directly from the English news items broadcast by Radio 4 and on television. The station also promotes Zambian music. Radio 2 broadcasts in English on SW countrywide and on FM in the main industrial and commercial areas. Radio 4,77 broadcasting in English on FM only, can be received along the railway line stretching from Livingstone on the southern border of Zambia to Chililabombwe on the Zambia-Democratic Republic of Congo border on the Copperbelt. Both stations target broader audiences. Programming includes news and current affairs, music, entertainment, religious broadcasts, sponsored programmes, discussions and phone-in programmes, educational broadcasts and advertisements. In cooperation with parliament ZNBC also runs Parliament Radio which broadcasts debates in the House whenever the legislature is in session. An audience research survey done in April 200978 shows that Radio 1 has a listenership of 69 per cent (38 per cent listened yesterday and 31 during the past seven days), Radio 2 reaches 66 per cent (38/28) and Radio 4 attracts 59 per cent (39/20). ZNBC Television broadcasts mainly in English. Broadly the station’s schedule includes sports, news, syndicated religious programmes, business interviews, discussion programmes, documentaries, agricultural and development magazines,
76 Circular no. MIBS/104/4/3 dated 12 September 2008, issued by Emmanuel N. Nyirenda, permanent secretary, MIBS. 77 Radio 3 or ‘Radio Freedom’ was introduced shortly after independence 1964 for broadcasts by African freedom fighters from neighbouring countries still under colonial rule. The original numbering remained even after its disbandment. 78 The Steadman Group, Audience Research Survey Zambia, April 2009, p.17.

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soap operas and local dramas. Sundays are fully packed with paid-for religious programmes by tele-evangelists. From Monday to Friday a total of 35 minutes per day – five minutes each – have been allocated to news in the seven major Zambian languages. In addition, each Zambian language is allocated about 30 minutes to broadcast a magazine programme from Monday to Sunday. According to the above-mentioned survey ZNBC TV was ‘ever watched’ by 84 per cent, ‘yesterday’ by 50 per cent and by 18 per cent ‘during the last seven days’. The ZNBC launched its second channel, TV2, in January 2010. Marketed with the slogan ‘The pulse of Television’, this is a 24-hour service, initially limited to Lusaka and its environs. It intends to provide programming of high quality with a local to foreign content ratio of 60:40. TV2 is supposed to be a commercial channel expected to cross-subsidise the public stations. For the time being, some programmes aired on the main ZNBC TV channel are repeated on TV2.

3

Organisational structures

Until the ZNBC (Amendment) Acts of 2002 and 2010 are fully implemented, the national broadcaster retains its old eight-member board. All members were appointed by the minister of information and broadcasting services before the amendments were passed and are still serving as a caretaker or interim board. Senior management consists of the director-general, the director of technical services, director of finance, director of programmes, director of marketing and sales, director of human resources, the corporation secretary and the regional controller based at Kitwe Studio. The third level of the ZNBC’s organisational hierarchy is made up of controllers of the various operational or functional units. The controllers television, radio as well as news and current affairs report to the director of programmes. The heads of TV operations/production and of TV news report to the controller of television. The channel managers of Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 4 report to the controller of radio. The headquarters in Lusaka and the regional studio in Kitwe are both responsible for programme generation and content production. The outpost station of Livingstone provides reportage and packaging. The regional offices in all provincial centres essentially look after the maintenance of transmission facilities. The director of programmes deals with all editorial issues, but the director-general, as the chief executive, is kept posted with any major development in the editorial section. In the words of former director-general, Joseph Salasini, ‘I have to be involved in editorial issues – controversial or major – as the buck ends with me.’ The director-

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general is thus effectively also the editor-in-chief. This might create conflicts of interest with editorial decisions possibly becoming subject to commercial or other extraneous considerations. Sponsors of programmes seem to be playing an influential role in editorial matters as well, including scheduling. Corporate and civil society sponsors offer ready-made programmes to the broadcaster and they pay for the air time used. At times the ZNBC also produces programmes on behalf of non-governmental organisations and commercial entities at commercial rates. Management argues that this brings in much needed revenue, enhances the quality of programming, and helps the broadcaster to address issues affecting minorities and vulnerable groups (particularly programming relating to charity work).79 The director-general says that the public mandate and ZNBC’s editorial responsibility must not be compromised by commercialisation or sponsorship. There have been cases, though, when ZNBC refused to air programmes paid for by international donors because of their content. These include live phone-in programmes sponsored via MISA-Zambia on current issues or a programme produced by a human rights NGO on the unexplained deaths of some prominent local politicians. According to the director-general staff numbers in the corporation increased slightly over the past few years from 395 in 2003/4 to 427 in November 2008, with 77 per cent based at headquarters in Lusaka. The directorate of programmes is the largest department with 186 employees, followed by the technical services directorate with 116. With the establishment of TV2, an additional 33 staff members have been employed.80 For the programme department the ZNBC recruits persons who hold at least a diploma in journalism. They would typically have undergone a three-year diploma course offered by a number of private and government colleges and institutions such as the Evelyn Hone College (EHC) and the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication Educational Trust (ZAMCOM), whose curriculum and syllabi are approved by the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) of the ministry of science, technology and vocational training. While the diploma qualification is the entry requirement, the ZNBC prefers to employ graduates of the department of mass communication of the University of Zambia because they are considered to bring in the right mix of qualifications and disposition as professionals. The directorate of human resources also periodically identifies special training needs and initiates in-house training programmes to cater for these needs.

79 Interview with Caristo Chitamfya, ZNBC controller of television, on 12 November 2008. 80 Interview with Edward Mupeso, ZNBC director-general, on 13 July 2010.

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The director-general claimed that judging from the large number of job applications received by the broadcaster, conditions of service at the ZNBC were obviously generally satisfactory, given the total package, job security and opportunities for advancement both educationally and professionally. Unionised staff, however, have regularly staged sit-in protests and threatened to withdraw their labour on account of poor salaries and conditions of service. On 30 April 2009, at the height of protests from staff who petitioned the minister of information and broadcasting services for a salary increase and made allegations of financial mismanagement, the director-general was asked by the Minister to go on leave to facilitate a financial and performance audit of the ZNBC by the auditor general. In October 2009, the ZNBC board of directors announced the termination of the contracts of the director-general, director of programmes, director of finance and director of marketing and sales, and decided not to renew the contract of the director of human resources that was due to expire at the end of November 2009. In June 2010, Edward Mupeso, who had served in the position between 2001 and 2004, was again appointed as the director-general. The new directors of programmes, finance, marketing and sales, and human resources were appointed on 1 July 2010.81

4 Attitudes towards public broadcasting within the ZNBC
Interviews with management82 showed that all are keen to transform the ZNBC into a true public service broadcaster. They define ‘public service broadcasting’ as broadcasting that conforms to the principles of having the widest possible reach, offering a variety of inclusive programming for a wide cross-section of tastes, being paid for by public users and removed from all vested interests, either political or economic. Others referred to public service broadcasting as ‘people’s broadcasting’, which responds to people’s information needs, reflects balanced information on issues of interest to the majority of people (which they sometimes described as the national interest) and which operates with minimum or no government control or interference. The public, they felt, should actively participate in programmes on social, political and economic issues as well as in children’s programmes. The public service broadcaster ought to be protected by the provisions of the ZNBC (Amendment) and IBA Acts and, ideally, be answerable to professional and independent regulatory bodies such as the IBA. The IBA
81 Ibid. 82 Members of staff interviewed in November 2008 include the then ZNBC director-general, the then director of programmes, the controller of television and the manager of Radio 2.

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(Amendment) Act of 2010 now defines ‘public service broadcasting’ simply to mean ‘any broadcasting service provided by the Corporation’ from the previous definition in IBA Act 17 of 2002 of ‘a broadcasting service which serves the overall public interest and is accountable to the public as represented by an independent board, and defined by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act’. The general view was that the government ought to divorce itself from actual broadcasting work altogether and confine itself to creating appropriate legal instruments and an enabling environment for the public service broadcaster to operate effectively. This would also entail support for sufficient funding for the operations and expansion of the ZNBC in relation to technological development through the levying of adequate licence fees. Interviewees felt that parliament (rather than the executive) should allocate the necessary funds to the public service broadcaster through the appropriate legal instruments while also ensuring that such mechanisms would not compromise the broadcaster’s independence. Such funds would be released directly to the broadcaster rather than being channelled through a parent ministry. Funding by parliament was considered to be better insulated against political interference because the various political parties represented in parliament would jointly authorise funding decisions and expect fair and objective coverage of issues. If the executive or ruling party was in charge of funding the public service broadcaster, this would result in the ruling party monopolising control and influence over the broadcaster. The public service broadcaster should be free to disseminate information for the benefit of the public as it saw fit and also play a watchdog role with regard to government. There were some interesting answers to the hypothetical question of whether it would be acceptable for the public service broadcaster to provide the president or the vice president with an hour of airtime every week to communicate with the public about the work and plans of the executive. Most felt this could and should be done because the political party in power had a mandate to rule and there was a need to inform the electorate about government programmes, attitudes and policies. They argued that each party in power had the right to use the media at its disposal for this purpose. While few disagreed with this view, some suggested the alternative of allowing a government representative to make a ten minute presentation, followed by questions and comments from a panel of journalists and professionals drawn from selected fields. In this format the president or government representative would have to provide information in response to the needs of the public and not just tailored to the executive’s public relations interests. There was agreement that the public service broadcaster should cover the activities of all political parties without bias because these parties represented all Zambians who

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were also taxpayers. The provisions of the Electoral (Code of Conduct) Regulations, 2006, which stipulate how political parties should be covered during election campaigns, were generally regarded as fitting and easy to comply with. The role of civil society organisations in relation to the public service broadcaster was more hotly contested. Some felt that civil society organisations had no role to play because they only sought to promote vested and parochial interests. Others pointed out that civil society organisations supported the passing of the IBA Act and spoke for the voiceless. The general view was that the broadcaster should exercise caution in relation to civil society organisations and that ideally these organisations should use forums other than the ZNBC to air their views. Members of management claim that there have been incidents when ‘stage-managed’ groups of people, for example rural traditional leaders or ‘obscure’ non-governmental organisations, ‘misused’ the ZNBC for their ‘partisan’ causes. The Producer’s Guidelines, developed internally in the 1990s, were cited as the document that informs the ZNBC’s handling of public opinions and concerns. Specific reference was made to the need to adhere to the principles of good taste in programmes, the need to avoid litigation and to refrain from insults, mindful of the dictum that ‘your rights end where mine begin’. The public service broadcaster should be selective in reflecting public opinion by being balanced, objective and ethical rather than giving a platform to views that ‘divide or destroy the country’. In this regard reference was made to the role played by a commercial radio station in Rwanda in fuelling the genocide in that country in 1994.

5

Conclusions and recommendations

Zambia is still struggling to transform the ZNBC from a state broadcaster into a public service broadcaster. The original ZNBC (Amendment) Act 2002 was intended to insulate the ZNBC board against political and economic interference as well as to guarantee the editorial independence of the broadcaster. This was in line with the provisions of article VI of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, which states that ‘State and government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into public service broadcasters, accountable to the public through the legislature rather than the government’ and ‘governed by a board which is protected against interference, particularly of a political or economic nature’.

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recommendations
The ZNBC plays an important role in the lives of Zambians. The following recommendations will assist in ensuring that the public broadcaster meets the public’s expectations: • Civil society organisations should continue their efforts to transform the ZNBC into a truly public service broadcaster by developing new models for the governance of the corporation and drawing up new ZNBC legislation which is in line with standards set by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. • Given the new appointment procedures for the ZNBC board introduced by the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2010 and the latitude they give to the minister in charge of broadcasting, civil society organisations must renew their efforts to ensure that the new board of the ZNBC is appointed in an open and transparent way, and is protected against political or economic interference. • The new board should, among other tasks: – inform itself thoroughly on the role and functions of a public service broadcaster and organise appropriate training for senior and mid-level staff of the Corporation; – review the organisational structures of the ZNBC to bring them in line with the requirements of a modern public service broadcaster; – ensure that editorial and programme scheduling decisions are based on the public interest and not on the interests of sponsors and advertisers; – introduce a policy that gives the ZNBC editorial responsibility over all its programming, including that produced by sponsors; – establish a news and current affairs department able to take autonomous decisions.

7
Funding of the ZNBC

1

Main sources of funding

The ZNBC operates as a business entity. It generates funds from selling airtime for advertisements on radio and television and charging fees for sponsored programmes, and earns dividends from MultiChoice Zambia Limited, in which the ZNBC currently has a 49 per cent shareholding. In addition, the Corporation receives government grants and television licence fees or, according to the most recent ZNBC Amendment Bill passed by parliament in March 2010, a television levy.

1.1

television licence fee/levy

On the basis of the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2002, parliament authorised the corporation to collect a television licence fee of K 3 000 (US$ 0.60) per month per household with one or more television sets from 1 July 2003. It is not clear why lawmakers decided on that particular amount, but the figure is equivalent to the price of a daily newspaper. Managers of the Corporation argue strongly in favour of increasing the fee, saying that the ZNBC offers a wider range of services to the public than newspapers do – and that on every day of the month.83 For effective collection of the licence fees, the ZNBC entered into a partnership with the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) – on the assumption that every household connected to the electricity grid owns a television set and is therefore liable to pay the fee. ZESCO collects the fee on the broadcaster’s behalf through customers’ monthly electricity bills, where the amount is clearly marked. The fee is also collected through the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) in those districts where
83 Interviews with members of ZNBC management on 12 November 2008.

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there is no electricity supply, as well as through residents’ development committees in various high-density residential areas. The ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2010 replaced the licence fee with a television levy to be collected through television dealers. Precise regulations have yet to be formulated, but in the meantime each dealer is expected to maintain accurate records of sales. According to the minister of information and broadcasting services, Ronnie Shikapwasha,84 compliance levels regarding the payment of TV licence fees were around 52 per cent only, mainly because the ZNBC lacked necessary facilities, such as vehicles and personnel, to reach every area to collect fees. Government anticipates that with the involvement of TV dealers, compliance will increase to 65 per cent in the first year and 70 per cent in the second year. According to ZNBC annual reports, the broadcaster’s income from licence fees is in the region of five to six billion Kwacha a year (US$ 1.2 million), indicating that only around 200 000 households are paying their dues – a figure which falls short of the 60 per cent compliance rate assumed in the corporation’s income projections. According to a 2009 survey, 45 per cent of Zambian households (with an estimated five persons per household) own a TV set, meaning that there are TV sets in slightly more than one million households. Table 4: TV licence fees collected by ZNBC
year 2003/4 2004/5 2005/6
Source: ZNBC Annual Report 2003/4, 2004/5 and 2005/685

Amount (in thousands) K 1 507 434 K 6 058 970 K 5 167 614

Minister Shikapwasha told parliament in March 2010 that between 1 July 2003 and September 2009 the ZNBC had collected a total of K 25.9 billion (US$ 5 million) in licence fees. This, he said, enabled the ZNBC to sustain its operations to acceptable levels.86

1.2 government grants
The ZNBC receives government grants for capital expenditure. In recent years, according to the broadcaster’s annual reports, the amounts have varied from a low
84 Minister of information and broadcasting services, Ronnie Shikapwasha, presenting the ZNBC Amendment Bill of 2010 in parliament on 11 March 2010. 85 Annual reports for 2006/7, 2007/8 and 2008/9 have not been released to the public yet. 86 Minister of information and broadcasting services, Ronnie Shikapwasha, op. cit.

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K 1.9 billion (US$ 375 000) in 2003/4 to K 4.6 billion (US$ 900 000) in 2005/6. The ZNBC’s then director of finance, Millen Siamuyoba,87 explained that the government provided grants mainly to enable the corporation to complete a rural TV project by installing additional television transmission equipment. On the other hand, government’s contribution to the ZNBC’s operational costs has over the years been reduced to zero. Government also no longer provides any funding for special programmes in the areas of education, health or civic education, arguing that the licence fee is meant to replace such grants. A number of government ministries, though, still expect the ZNBC to broadcast programmes provided by them at a discounted rate because they consider the Corporation to be an agent of the government.

1.3 Advertising
Faced with shrinking subsidies from government and stagnant income from licence fees, the ZNBC is trying to increase its revenue from advertisers, currently standing at 60 per cent of overall income, and sponsors. This is not an easy task given the everincreasing competition from other broadcasters, print media and outdoor advertising. Over the past few years only the entertainment station Radio 4 and ZNBC TV have managed to grow their revenue from advertising in any significant manner. Table 5:
channel Radio 1 Radio 2 Radio 4 Television Total

Revenue earned by ZNBC radio and television stations
2003/4 K 1 252 859 719 K 1 021 169 665 K 913 519 895 K 10 783 104 048 K 13 970 653 328 2004/5 K 1 168 613 489 K 1 222 101 490 K 1 561 099 719 K 12 003 259 302 K 15 955 074 002 2005/6 K 1 021 984 898 K 1 477 761 702 K 2 065 707 478 K 13 420 961 073 K 17 986 415 153

Source: ZNBC Annual Report 2003/4, 2004/5 and 2005/6

87

Interview with Millen Siamuyoba, director of finance, ZNBC, on 14 November 2008.

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1.4 overall income
A comparison of percentages for the various sources of income shows a steady decline of revenue generated from advertisements and sponsorships while government’s share increased in 2005/6 due to a specific and once-off capital investment in the rural TV project. The income from licence fees is substantial but could be increased considerably if all TV-owning households did indeed pay up. Table 6: Schedule of income according to sources
2003/4 Government grants Licence fees Advertisements Others 10.5 % 8.0 % 74.0 % 7.5 % 2004/5 7.4 % 23.5 % 62.0 % 7.1 % 2005/6 15.5 % 17.5 % 60.7 % 6.3 %

2

Spending

The bulk of the ZNBC’s revenue is spent on staff salaries and administration (2006: 86.9 per cent), with only a fraction going towards production and purchase of programmes (2.2 per cent). There are two reasons for this imbalance: most programmes are obviously being produced in-house by the corporation’s employees, and others are delivered by sponsors in a ready-to-be-aired form. This also indicates that the national broadcaster generally does not commission productions from independent production houses and thus does not contribute to the development of a TV-production industry in the country. During the 2003–2006 period the ZNBC invested more than K 7 billion (about US$ 1.4 million) in production equipment for television and radio, motor vehicles, office equipment and library books. Over the years under review the ZNBC has incurred modest losses in spite of the gradual increase in its revenue base.

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Table 7: Schedule of major current expenditure minus financing costs and taxation (in thousands)
expense item Programmesa Administrationb Other operating expenses Staff costsc Advertising and promotiond Total 2003 K 277 285 2.0 % K4 212 703 29.7 % K 1 449 025 10.2 % K 8 169 119 57.6 % K 62 858 0.5 % K 14 170 990 2004 K 521 574 2.6 % K 5 021 422 25.2 % K 1 640 315 8.2 % K 12 650 582 63.5 % K 87 988 0.5 % K 19 921 881 2005 K 1 091 875 4.4 % K 4 838 550 19.4 % K 3 758 486 15.1 % K 15 046 052 60.3 % K 211 234 0.8 % K 24 946 197 2006 K 769 131 2.2 % K 11 856 723 33.6 % K 3 563 459 10.1 % K 18 783 549 53.3 % K 296 280 0.8 % K 35 269 142

Source: ZNBC Annual Report 2003/4, 2004/5, and 2005/6 a b c d Programme expenses include payment for foreign programmes, local programmes, artists’ fees and presenters’ fees. Administrative expenses relate to audit fees, directors’ fees, depreciation and other operating expenses including clearing charges, motor vehicle expenses, repairs and maintenance, subscription and publications, travel and news gathering. Staff costs – consists of wages and salaries, pension contributions and other staff related costs. Advertising and promotional expenses include the cost of advertising sales promotion, entertainment and public relations and expenses incurred in participating in shows and trade fairs.

Table 8: Comparative schedule of revenue and expenditure (in thousands)
2002/3 Revenue Expenditure Surplus (deficit) K 12 374 234 K 14 170 990 (K 1 796 756) 2003/4 K 18 892 092 K 19 921 881 (K 1 029 789) 2004/5 K 25 743 470 K 24 946 197 K 797 273 2005/6 K 29 607 762 K 35 269 142 (K 5 661 380)

Source: ZNBC Annual Report 2003/4, 2004/5 and 2005/6

A more worrying trend is the ZNBC’s inability to service outstanding debts and thus the threat of withdrawal of credit facilities by service providers, as well as a growing indebtedness to the taxman. In the financial year 2005/6, for example, the broadcaster owed the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) nearly K 17.5 billion for taxes on wages (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT).88 This is the equivalent of half of the ZNBC’s budget for current expenditure. According to the corporation’s director of finance, arrangements have been worked out between the ZNBC and ZRA to progressively settle the outstanding amounts plus penalties for late payment.

88 ZNBC Annual Report 2005/6.

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Over the years the ZNBC has also accumulated trade debts and other payables amounting to K 26.3 billion in 2005/6, equivalent to 75 per cent of its budget for current expenditure. In total, the ZNBC shows accumulated debts amounting to K 44 billion for the financial year 2005/6, which is K 14 billion more than the corporation’s annual revenue.

3

Conclusions and recommendations

Article 6 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa states that public service broadcasters ‘should be adequately funded in a manner that protects them from arbitrary interference with their budget’. Given the massive debt accumulated over the years and the minimal amount spent on direct production costs, the ZNBC’s funding seems to be far from adequate. The government’s failure to implement the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2002 fully has had disastrous consequences for the broadcaster. By introducing licence fees and using them as the reason to discontinue payment of grants from the national budget, while at the same time refusing to give up its control over the broadcaster and go ahead with the establishment of an independent board, government has managed to cherry-pick only to its own advantage – a case of he who no longer pays the piper still calling the tune. As a result the ZNBC faces a grave dilemma. It is not a public service broadcaster yet but the public is expected to fund it through licence fees. Any efforts to increase the compliance rate among TV owners and/or to raise the amount of the fee will run into credibility problems and are likely to fail as long as the Corporation is seen as a government institution. With no operational funds from the treasury and insufficient income from licence fees the ZNBC is forced to secure its financial viability through commercial activities such as the acquisition of advertisements and sponsorships. As things stand currently, it seems as if the financial interests of the ZNBC will have to override the public service broadcasting mandate if the institution is to survive. Most public interest programming is produced by sponsors who determine the content and even influence the scheduling of their products, thus taking over editorial responsibilities from the broadcaster. The acquisition of sponsorships and advertisements will become increasingly difficult not only because of the economic situation of the country but also because the ZNBC is perceived as a state broadcaster and many potential clients will rather turn to its more credible private competitors.

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If there are no drastic changes, the ZNBC may go further down the spiral of debts and liabilities. This bleak outlook is not just due to inadequate funding but also to an inefficient and costly administration. The ZNBC management pinned its hopes on the introduction of the second television channel, TV2, to cross-subsidise the public stations. This route has been tried in other countries (such as South Africa) and not always yielded the desired results.

recommendations
In view of the present financial status of the ZNBC, it is recommended that: • The new board commission a thorough audit of the corporation’s financial status by an independent accounting firm; • On the basis of a new programme policy, the organisational structure of the ZNBC be reviewed and reformed, in particular regarding administrative processes and expenses, with the objective to dedicate a higher proportion of funds to programming compared to human resources and administration; • On the basis of the new programme policy and organisational structure, a business plan be developed which reflects the financial needs of the ZNBC and potential sources of revenue; • The government order the Zambia Revenue Authority to consider debtforgiveness for the ZNBC to give the corporation a clean bill of health before its transformation into a public service broadcaster. Regarding the television levy, it is recommended that: • The monthly levy be increased to a reasonable but socially fair amount, subject to inflation-indexed regular adjustments (provided that the ZNBC offers better programming than it does now); • Efforts be made to improve significantly the compliance rate for payment of the levy among viewers and listeners. In regard to revenues from the state budget, it is recommended that: • An independent panel of experts determine the amount of a subsidy needed by the ZNBC over a three-year period to fulfill its public service broadcasting mandate;

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• Parliament fund the public service broadcaster directly (and not through a ministry or department) on the basis of the amount determined by the panel of experts; • Government provide support for special programmes that deal with development issues such as the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals. Concerning advertisements and sponsorships, it is recommended that the ZNBC: • Develop clear and strict guidelines on soliciting advertisements and conditions for accepting advertisements and programme sponsorships that will safeguard the broadcaster’s editorial independence, for example in terms of scheduling; • Assume full editorial responsibility for sponsored programmes either by producing them in-house or commissioning them from independent production firms, who would also work in accordance with the corporation’s guidelines and policies; • Explore financial models, including the establishment of an independent funding agency, to build capacity in the private production industry and to increase co-productions with independent producers.

8
Programming

1
1.1

Programme policies and guidelines
the Znbc

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has a 170-page handbook, Producers’ Guidelines,89 that radio and television editors, producers, reporters and other staff at different levels of the organisation are supposed to refer to and abide by. The document contains instructions on how to handle broadcasts and reportage of various issues and how to respond to certain problematic circumstances. The authors of the guidelines have obviously used the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) Editorial Guidelines90 as a template: more than half of the handbook’s content is similar to the CBA document, in particular with regard to accuracy, interviews, election coverage, conflict of interest, phone-ins, religion in programmes, taste and decency, children, privacy, crime and anti-social activity, violence, as well as fairness and ‘straight dealing’. Among many others, the ZNBC Producers’ Guidelines address the issues of the ‘right of reply’ and how to deal with ‘impartiality’, ‘warnings and signposting’, ‘language’, ‘the portrayal of sex’, ‘politics and politicians’, ‘presidential and ministerial coverage’, ‘addressing the nation’, ‘party political broadcasts’, as well as a prohibition of live shows by independent producers. Regarding ‘impartiality’, the document has this to say:

89 Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Producers’ Guidelines, 1998 edition. 90 M. Raine (ed.), CBA Editorial Guidelines, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association/UNESCO 2004.

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As programme makers produce programmes, it is important to note that the notion of impartiality91 lies at the heart of ZNBC. No area of programming is exempt from it. ZNBC should serve all the nine provinces of Zambia, recognizing and responding to all different tastes, views and perspectives. Programme makers should, therefore, aim to reflect, inform and stimulate this multiplicity of interests with programmes of range, quality and diversity – programmes to cater for people of any age, belief, colour, race, tribe, ability, sexuality or gender.

In respect of ‘politics and politicians’, the guidelines state:
Reporters and producers must always exercise extra care when reporting or producing political programmes. Here again, the need to exercise honesty, accuracy, objectivity and impartiality is of paramount importance. ZNBC staff must therefore, at all times – Conduct themselves in a manner that protects them from conflict of interest, real or perceived ... Deal with public issues impartially so as not to be favourable to any one body of thought, be it political, social, religious, economic, etc. ... Be judicious in reporting and editing so as not to be biased or present views which may be misconstrued by the audience ... Conduct themselves in a manner that in no way brings the standing of the ZNBC or its staff in [sic] disrepute.

The issue of ‘Presidential and Ministerial Coverages [sic] and Addressing the Nation’ receives fairly extensive and specific attention in the guidelines:
[The] ZNBC accords special status to the State President in its broadcasts. Time is always found to give enough coverage to the President and the Vice President to air their coverages [sic] either in edited form or in their entirety. Whenever it is permissible, all press conferences by the President shall be covered live on Television and all Radio channels. A delayed edited version of the press conference shall also be aired on the same day, unless time and/or equipment does not permit
91 ‘Impartiality’ is not defined in the Producers’ Guidelines.

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this. Through their Controllers, producers must liaise with the Press Office of the Zambia Information Services for State House coverages. In some cases, it may be necessary to deal directly with the Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, or his/her representative. Time and again, the President, the Vice President, or Ministers appointed to do so on their behalf, may be required to address the nation on Radio and Television at short notice. ZNBC has an obligation to carry out these broadcasts, even at very short notice, so as to enable the Government provide [sic] information or explanation of events of prime national or international importance, and/or seek the co-operation of the public in connection with such events. Whenever this happens, announcements must be made to this effect, and apologies made to audiences that were expecting a scheduled programme or programmes to be aired at those particular times ... It is ZNBC policy not to allow anyone, other than the President, the Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, or Government officials appointed to represent them, to address the nation on Radio or Television. In special circumstances of an emergency nature, the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House or a leader of any opposition party shall be allowed to address the nation. It is important for producers to note that there is a difference between giving news coverage to a politician and allowing him or her to address the nation, either from copious notes, a written speech or off-the-cuff.

On ‘party political broadcasts’, the guidelines say:
Time and again, ZNBC offers time to all political parties for a series of party political broadcasts. These may be in the form of advertisements, or ZNBC may meet the full cost of the programmes, such as the “Road to Manda Hill” [Parliament is located on Manda Hill] television series. In such cases, the principle of equal opportunity will be observed in the acceptance and transmission of political campaign materials. ZNBC reserves the right to publish or not to publish materials presented to it, whether such materials are paid for or not … In the light of its national responsibilities, ZNBC shall avail all political parties – other than just the ruling and Official Opposition parties – equal opportunities, in ZNBC-sponsored programmes, to air their respective positions. (This rule does not

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cover paid-for political advertisements or statements which may be accorded to those political parties which have the finances to pay for them.) ZNBC has, time and again, been accused of not giving balanced coverage of political parties in news and current affairs programmes during election campaigns ... In principle,92 ZNBC should give equal coverage to all the major political parties taking part in any election in Zambia.

Under the chapter ‘Dealing with Independent Producers’, the guidelines point out:
No independent producer shall be allowed to present live shows of any kind, whether on Radio or Television. Live shows will only be presented by full-time staff. Special circumstances will apply only where ZNBC commissions a person, because of his or her special knowledge of the subject at hand, to present such programme.

1.2 Private and community broadcasters
An enquiry made with a number of broadcasting stations showed that many do not have any programme/editorial policies and guidelines in place. Radio Phoenix, for example, said they ‘have no editorial policy’.93 The station director of Livingstone-based Musi-O-Tunya Catholic Radio indicated that they were in the process of formulating such guidelines.94 Radio Maria of the Catholic Church in Chipata, on the other hand, has drawn up guidelines that provide for public interest programming with a special bias towards spiritual development.95 Mazabuka Community Radio has a manual containing programming and editorial policy and plans to develop more detailed policies.96 Repeated attempts to get information on editorial policies from Muvi Television were unsuccessful.

92 93 94 95 96

No exemptions are given by the Guidelines. Christine N. Tanzala, station manager, Radio Phoenix, in a statement to the researcher on 27 October 2009. Sr Immaculata N. Sililo, station director, Musi-O-Tunya Radio, Livingstone, in an e-mail dated 21 August 2009. Fr Gabriel Kwaku Phiri, director Radio Maria, Chipata, in an e-mail dated 29 August 2009. Bellon Chintombwa, acting station manager, Mazabuka Community Radio, Mazabuka, in an e-mail dated 21 August 2009.

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2

Programme schedules

The programmes of one ZNBC television and one ZNBC radio station, as well as one commercial radio and TV station each were monitored over the period of one week in order to compare their various offerings.97

2.1 Znbc television
ZNBC TV is the television station with the widest reach in the country. According to an audience survey in 2009,98 84 per cent of respondents said that they had ‘ever watched’ the channel, with 50 per cent stating they had watched ‘yesterday’ and 18 per cent during the ‘past seven days’. On weekdays, the channel opens at 10h00 with a 12-minute news bulletin and closes at midnight; during the weekend transmissions begin three hours earlier, at 7h00, also starting with a newscast. Between 16h30 and 17h00 on weekdays ZNBC TV broadcasts news in seven Zambian languages, which translates into about four minutes for each of them. The main 45-minute news bulletin (interspersed with advertisements) is scheduled at 19h00 throughout the week (on Saturdays the bulletin lasts only fifteen minutes, with the remaining 30 minutes dedicated to the English Premier Soccer League). Another 15-minute news bulletin is scheduled for 22h00 throughout the week. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays ZNBC broadcasts BBC News at 12h00 (with the same time slot on Tuesdays dedicated to the English Premier Soccer League). On weekdays the morning schedule is characterised by mainly foreign programming such as soap operas, like Isidingo from South Africa and Tentacles from Ghana, or game shows. 14h00 to 15h00 is the slot for current affairs programmes such as Inter Party Dialogue (a discussion programme dealing with issues that the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue has addressed) or Open Line. Open Line is one of the few phone-in programmes on ZNBC TV which discusses topical issues. It is broadcast at a time when most viewers would be at work and therefore unable to either watch or participate (in fact during the week monitored only sms messages were read as no callers phoned in). The shows cover a wide range of subjects including politics, the environment, social and cultural affairs. The choice of topics for discussion depends on the most current or recent happenings in Zambia during a particular week. Panelists are drawn from a cross-section of society, unless the topic is political, when the panelists invited are either office bearers of a political
97 Monitored during the week of 26 March–1 April 2009. 98 The Steadman Group, Audience Research Survey, Lusaka, 2009.

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party or hold strong political views that are pro-government or pro-ruling party. These programmes are followed by current affairs programmes in seven Zambian languages (15h30–16h30) with one day of the week allocated to each of these languages. On weekends the allocated time for the language ‘of the day’ is used to review and highlight events of the week which are of interest to the targeted language audience. During the evening the station presents mainly foreign produced entertainment and movies, local soaps and shows such as Born & Bred (a local music programme in which viewers select the best videos) or Smooth Talk (a talk show in which a celebrity, singer, dancer, entertainer is interviewed and given the chance to perform before an audience). Saturday’s programming is a mix of shows such as Kwacha Good Morning (two hours of interviews with different personalities on topics of an educational, entertaining or political nature, as well as current affairs; the show also includes repeats of local productions that the ZNBC considers popular); Mid-Morning with Frank (a one-hour talk show); a 45-minute summary of Events of the Week (a review of the major stories); movies and sport (in particular the English Premier Soccer League). Sunday’s schedule includes a mixture of religious programmes (mostly American tele-evangelists), sports (for example wrestling or a two-hour long Brazilian Soccer League segment), local soaps (for example Kabanana) and other local productions (for example Lima on agriculture or The Reporter, a compilation of stories produced by ZNBC reporters), talk shows (Oprah Winfrey Show) and a live phone-in debate National Watch (19h45 to 20h30), a programme during which panelists discuss a topical national issue, for example a newly launched national policy or sector-based activity, a campaign or an imminent event. Overall, nearly 50 per cent of the programmes on ZNBC TV are foreign productions. A second (commercial) ZNBC TV channel – TV2 – aims to increase the percentage of local productions to 60 per cent. To this end, the ZNBC signed a memorandum of understanding with 16 local media production houses prior to the official launch on 15 January 2010. It is hoped that TV2 will facilitate the growth of local film production and thereby contribute to job creation, and contribute to the development of the theatre industry in Zambia. The continued working relationship with the 16 local production companies will, of course, depend to a large extent on the quality of material they deliver. Following the launch of TV2, the ZNBC did indeed allocate a large proportion of air time to locally produced programmes. These include news, local drama, music, fashion, life style, kids’ shows as well as some talk shows, programmes on business and finance, arts and crafts, home management, health talks, shopping guides and movies. Already

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viewers are seeing the same local actors perform in productions made by different Zambian companies. This development is bound to engender competition among local producers as well as among television stations to provide better quality local material.

2.2 Znbc radio 2
Radio 2 is the information radio channel of the ZNBC, with an audience rating of 38 per cent having ‘listened yesterday’ and 31 per cent during the ‘past seven days’.99 The station opens at 4h40 and closes at midnight. It offers news summaries of between five and 15 minutes duration four times in the morning, three times during the afternoon and again four times during the evening (the same news is also broadcast on Radio 4, the entertainment station). Radio 2 dedicates more than four hours per day (9h00 to 12h00 and 14h15 to 15h30) to ‘educational’ broadcasting services. These programmes are called Learning at Taonga Market and target children who are unable to attend regular schools. They are nonetheless organised into communities where a ‘teacher’ is given teaching instructions by radio. The programme is presented in 30-minute segments for each of the seven grades of primary school, with different subjects being tackled on different days of the week. Radio 2’s format is characterised by broadly informative and educational programmes such as Body Talk at 5h00 (a 45-minute health programme), Poetry Corner (a 40-minute show at 6h05 during which the presenter reads poems submitted by listeners), Rural Note Book at 6h45 (a 15-minute agricultural programme targeted mostly at subsistence/ emergent farmers), Feminine Touch from 12h30 to 13h00 (where aspects of beauty care and female hygiene are discussed), Civic Education (a 45-minute programme at 18h15 on civic education issues), Book Spectrum from 20h30 to 21h00 (where mostly local books are reviewed) or Zambia Radio Drama (a half-hour programme of radio drama on topical issues; scripts are submitted by listeners and the cast). These offerings are interspersed with music slots and commercial programmes such as Selling Point, a compilation of advertisements broadcast daily without set times and of varying length, depending on the number of ads sold.

2.3 Muvi television
Muvi TV is the commercial television station with the widest reach.100 Twenty-five per cent (45 per cent in urban and 14 per cent in rural areas) of households within its
99 Ibid. 100 Ibid.

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footprint have ‘ever watched’ this broadcaster – while competitor MOBI TV reached 13 per cent and the rest 11 per cent (70 per cent of Zambian households live outside the coverage areas of private television stations). Half of these households said they had watched Muvi TV over the past seven days. The station is on air for 24 hours a day and claims that ‘local production makes up as much as 65% of the programming’.101 It offers programmes in English and Zambian languages, with the latter being used particularly in some of the local drama productions. The operators say that they ‘contribute to the entertainment of the public and at the same time, fulfill our duties of informing the public, of educating our children and of being responsible for developmental issues of the nation’, thus paraphrasing the mission of a public service broadcaster which is supposed to inform, educate and entertain. Indeed, Muvi TV calls itself ‘a broadcaster of the people’.102 The programme schedule contains a variety of foreign and local productions in the areas of entertainment, news/information, sports and religious programming. Foreign material includes productions such as the Mask of Zorro (a cartoon film), Planet of the Apes (a nature programme), Generations (a South African soap opera), and Stolen Moments (a soap opera produced in the Philippines). In addition Muvi TV broadcasts foreign news programmes such as Deutsche Welle Journal, Voice of America News Hour and African Journal (also from Voice of America). On the sports front the station offers wrestling entertainment programmes and football shows. Local productions include two one-hour current affairs programmes which attempt to critically investigate shortcomings in the governance of the country: Hot Issue (Tuesdays 21h15) and The Matter at Hand (Mondays 21h15, repeat Tuesdays 8h30). These programmes offer space to controversial views and personalities and discuss topics which the ZNBC would never touch. Other local programmes are Banja, a drama programme in a Zambian language; Nyanja, an educational programme on life skills; Brothers, a local soap opera; Kokoliko and Spit it Out, both comedy productions.

2.4 radio Phoenix
Radio Phoenix is the commercial radio station in Zambia with the widest reach.103 Thirty-seven per cent of households interviewed had ‘ever listened’ to this broadcaster – compared to 19 per cent for QFM Radio, 17 per cent for Radio Sky FM, 11 per cent for Hot FM and 14 per cent for the rest (56 per cent of all households live outside the

101 Ibid. 102 Ibid. 103 The Steadman Group, op.cit.

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coverage areas of private radio). Sixty-three per cent of Radio Phoenix’s listeners had tuned in to their station over the past seven days. During the week monitored the station was on air around the clock and offered five 15-minute news services a day: general news at 6h45, 13h00 and 18h00, and Community News (news from communities not covered by the main news) at 14h00 and 18h30. In the morning the station offered a musical breakfast show from 5h00 to 6h15, followed by a mix of commercial programmes: Shopping Basket (a 30-minute business advertising programme where companies get cheap advertising rates), DSTv Daily Highlights (a 15-minute preview of Pay TV programmes of the day), Talking Subway (a 30-minute programme sponsored by food-chain Subway in which the company advertises the products it sells) and Zain Programme (in which the mobile service provider Zain advertises its services and products). From 10h00 to 11h00 there is a mid-morning music show, followed by a mix of commercials and music and MTN Traffic Watch, a programme sponsored by a mobile service provider, MTN, from 12h00 to 12h30. From 14h15 to 17h00 Radio Phoenix presented a music programme, followed by Sports Day (30 minutes) and another Shopping Basket. During the evening and night, the station broadcast music shows, with a re-broadcast of BBC programmes from 2h00 to 4h00. On Tuesdays and Fridays Radio Phoenix broadcasts a two-hour talk show, Let the People Talk, which generates lively debates through interaction with callers and is popular for its sometimes acrid comments on government programmes or policies. The show is in English but panelists are occasionally allowed to use a Zambian language. A one-hour health programme every Wednesday evening tackles issues such as cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes and involves either a medical doctor who responds to questions by listeners or a panel discussion among sufferers of such diseases on their respective personal experiences. Until early 2009, Radio Phoenix used to host a successful Manzi Therapy health programme in which a medical doctor gave tips on good health and advised callers on specific medical complaints in a very interactive manner. The programme became so popular that the sponsors, producers of bottled water ‘Manzivalley’, decided to go national and transferred it to the ZNBC’s Radio 2. On the whole, Radio Phoenix is a radio station that entertains and informs, with an emphasis on the former. At one stage, the Radio Phoenix bulletins were the alternative to the ZNBC’s radio news, covering stories critical of the president or the ruling party which were not carried by ZNBC. Of late, however, the station seems to have toned down its style and is now prioritising more business stories at the expense of ‘hard’ news.

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3

News and current affairs

The news and current affairs programmes of two ZNBC and two commercial stations were similarly monitored over the same week.104

3.1 Znbc tv
The ZNBC TV main news bulletin is broadcast from 19h00 hours for about 35 to 45 minutes (depending on the number of items available), including a 5–10 minutes business news segment sponsored by the African Banking Corporation. The bank uses this space to advertise its products and provides news about developments in the economy and the money market. ZNBC TV news usually starts with stories on the president or the government, followed by items on parliament and opposition political parties, and finally international news (if any) and sports news, whenever such stories are available. During the monitoring period, ZNBC TV ran the following news stories: Table 9: ZNBC TV news
category Government (president/minister/official) Parliament Sports (local and foreign) Commerce and industry Community news Local diplomatic community Political (ruling party – MMD) Political (opposition parties) Foreign news Court cases
Source: Iris Media Zambia Monitoring Report, April 2009

no. of stories 52 1 1 13 9 3 – – – 2

total duration 122 minutes 23 seconds 4 minutes 3 minutes 26 minutes 34 seconds 25 minutes 30 seconds 5 minutes 55 seconds – – – 4 minutes

Out of the overall output of 192 minutes of news stories broadcast, 122 minutes or almost two-thirds were dedicated to government news, with not a single story on opposition parties. There were two major current affairs programmes broadcast on ZNBC TV during the monitoring period. On Friday, 27 March 2009, the topic of Open Line
104 Monitored during the week of 26 March–1 April 2009.

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was ‘The Cleansing and Healing Ceremony by the South African Government’. The programme gave some background to an upcoming ceremony to be undertaken by the South African government at Lusaka’s main Leopard’s Hill Cemetery. It was aimed at educating Zambians about the culture and tradition of South Africans with regard to ancestral worship and the need for them to ‘collect’ the spirits of freedom fighters who had died and been buried in exile in Zambia and bring them back to their homeland. Panelists included the South African High Commissioner, a general from the South African army, a retired officer in the Zambian army, a South African traditional doctor, a Zambian actress, a public historian and researcher and two church leaders. On Tuesday, 31 March 2009, the topic was the ‘National Indaba to Address the Global Financial Crunch’ – in the run-up to a three-day meeting with more than 500 national and international participants. On the panel were the minister of commerce, trade and industry, the deputy governor of the Bank of Zambia, a representative from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the chief executive officer of the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

3.2 radio 4
Radio 4 airs its main news bulletin at 20h00, usually for the duration of about 20 minutes, depending on the number of items considered newsworthy. The station also broadcasts news at other times such as 7h00 in the morning, mainly covering news of the previous day, and at 13h00 hours. During the monitoring period, Radio 4 ran the following news stories: Table 10: ZNBC – Radio 4 news
category Government [president/minister/official] Parliament Sports (local and foreign) Commerce and industry Community news Local diplomatic community Political (ruling party – MMD) Political (opposition parties – UPND) Foreign news Court cases
Source: Iris Media Zambia Monitoring Report, April 2009

no. of stories 46 1 4 9 4 2 1 1 12 –

total duration 180 minutes 40 seconds 4 minutes 16 minutes 27 minutes 10 seconds 14 minutes 7 minutes 1 minute 1 minute 47 minutes –

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News broadcast on ZNBC Radio 4 was, except for a few changes and the inclusion of foreign news, largely identical with that aired on ZNBC TV’s main news. Out of the 297 minutes of stories broadcast, 180 (or 60 per cent) were government-related. During the week monitored, Radio 4 had only one current affairs programme, Talking Point, which is not broadcast regularly but only from time to time. With just minor variations the programme covers the same topics that are discussed on ZNBC TV. In this case Talking Point offered a radio version of the television programme aired on the same day on ZNBC TV on ‘The Cleansing and Healing Ceremony by the South African Government’.

3.3 Muvi television
Muvi TV broadcasts its main news at 18h30 for about 35 to 40 minutes (depending on the number of news items available), while on Mondays and Fridays the bulletins run for a full hour. The news is quite diverse, covering a large amount of community news as well as political, international, business and sports stories. In the week monitored, Muvi TV’s news offered the following items: Table 11: Muvi TV news
category Government (president/minister/official) Parliament Sports (local and foreign) Commerce and industry Community news Local diplomatic community Political (ruling party – MMD] Political (opposition parties: ULP, UPND, PF, NGP] Foreign news Court cases
Source: Iris Media Zambia Monitoring Report, April 2009

no. of stories 32 3 4 11 18 1 1 1,1,3,1 4 –

total duration 71 minutes 12 seconds 7 minutes 53 seconds 9 minutes 12 seconds 33 minutes 16 seconds 65 minutes 26 seconds 7 minutes 50 seconds 14 minutes 7 seconds 7 minutes 16 seconds –

Overall, 33 per cent of news time was dedicated to government news and 30 per cent to community stories – it is not a coincidence that the station is also known as ‘a community station’. Muvi TV also offers some current affairs shows such as the Hot Issue, and the Matter at Hand. Viewers participate through the use of sms. Both programmes run for sixty minutes and start at 21h15.

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In Hot Issue the presenter puts direct questions to each invited guest; regardless of the number of invited guests, discussions among them are minimal. On 31 March 2009, the subject of the programme was ‘Spiritual Cleansing and Healing – The Reaction’. Participants discussed the mixed reactions of people towards the ceremony at Leopard’s Hill Cemetery referred to above and the programme was obviously scheduled in response to the one on ZNBC TV on the same issue broadcast a few days earlier. On 29 March 2009 Muvi TV showed a documentary sponsored by Transparency International Zambia on ‘The Role of the Media in Fighting Corruption’, The documentary was essentially a compilation of interviews with a number of journalists, a member of parliament and the executive director of Transparency International Zambia (TIZ).

3.4 radio Phoenix
Radio Phoenix broadcasts its main news at 18h00 and has news summaries at 06.45 and 13.00. The station prioritises community or human interest stories over ‘government news.’ During the monitoring period, only one news bulletin started with a story on a government minister. Table 12: Radio Phoenix news
category Government (President/minister/official) Parliament Sports (local and foreign) Commerce and industry Community news Local diplomatic community Political (ruling party – MMD) Political (opposition parties – ULP, PF) Foreign news Court cases
Source: Iris Media Zambia Monitoring Report, April 2009

no. of stories 23 4 9 17 17 – 1 1, 2 4 – 2

total duration 82 minutes 44 seconds 12 minutes 31 minutes 10 seconds 57 minutes 58 minutes 20 seconds – 8 minutes 40 seconds 9 minutes –

Similar to the distribution of news items on the main commercial television station, 32 per cent of news time on Radio Phoenix was taken up by government-related stories and 22 per cent each by community and commerce/industry stories. Radio Phoenix also has a programme – What the Papers Say – which offers extracts

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from mainly local newspapers, except the private The Post. The latter was dropped from the list by mutual agreement because, according to the paper’s managing editor,105 Radio Phoenix started quoting articles almost in full instead of highlighting certain paragraphs or providing brief summaries. During the monitoring week, the topics of Let the People Talk were ‘The Standards of Medical Facilities and Services in Zambia’ and ‘The Hospitality Industry in Zambia’ The first topic was discussed in light of the fact that a large number of Zambians go to South Africa for medical check-ups and treatment at a high cost even though highly qualified Zambian medical practitioners and good facilities are available in their home country. A panel of senior medical doctors and the minister of health delved into the subject and responded to queries and comments made by callers. The second programme addressed challenges in the hospitality sector and its role in boosting the Zambian economy. The panel comprised senior executives in the industry.

4 Comparison of public interest programming
Public interest programming can be defined as programming that promotes development in such aspects as human rights, life skills, economy, health, gender, agriculture, nutrition, civic education, or environmental and consumer protection. This includes news and current affairs programmes covering local, regional, national and international issues and events, programmes aimed at holding those in power accountable to the public, participatory programmes and discussions where diverse views can be exchanged and broadcast, and programmes that reflect the country’s cultural and language diversity. Community radio stations have the advantage of being able to respond directly to issues of interest to their specific communities. According to an audience research study,106 73 per cent of respondents cited these stations when asked which broadcasters offered programmes that reflect local cultures and way of life. Sixty-four and 50 per cent of respondents respectively credited ZNBC radio and private stations with providing such programming. Community radio stations also fared better than ZNBC radio stations in regard to providing adequate local news that was relevant to listeners’ information needs. The ZNBC, on the other hand, was expected to cover events in other parts of the country beyond people’s immediate neighbourhood. The commercial radio stations, for their part, were generally perceived as providing better information that was educative, more adequate international news that was
105 Interview with Amos Malupenga, managing editor of The Post, on 23 November 2009. 106 The Steadman Group, op.cit.

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relevant and adequate local news to fulfill listeners’ information needs than both state/ public and community radio stations. While private radio stations scored percentages lower than the ZNBC for the amount of coverage they gave to local culture and customs, farming and agriculture, local sports and faith issues, respondents accorded them far higher marks than the state broadcaster in respect of their coverage of women’s issues, human rights, national politics, local politics and entertainment. When comparing the content of programming offered by ZNBC TV and private television stations, respondents felt that commercial stations delivered a better service in respect of programmes that reflect local cultures and way of life, promote local drama and local music, provide information that is educative, and offer adequate local and international news that is relevant to viewers’ information needs. Nevertheless, due to its size and infrastructure the ZNBC has over the years provided more public interest programmes than its private competitors on issues such as agriculture, economy, health (including HIV and AIDS), nutrition, and the environment. It has also succeeded in reflecting Zambia’s cultural and language diversity by regularly broadcasting traditional ceremonies that take place in all parts of the country regardless of the size or prominence of the ethnic group involved. The inclusion of seven Zambian languages on ZNBC radio and television is also a reflection of the broadcaster’s aspiration to reach out to all strata of society. The ZNBC has managed to send its staff to various parts of the country to record or cover events that would be of interest to the Zambian public and aired this material on radio or television. Such travel and recording is possible at a cost, an expenditure which very few private broadcasters can afford. It should also be noted that the government usually pays for journalists from the public service broadcaster to accompany high level leaders when travelling outside of Zambia. According to the audience research, 70 per cent of respondents felt that commercial television stations provided programming that held those in power accountable to the public, while the corresponding figure for ZNBC TV was only 43 per cent. Similarly, while 77 per cent of respondents thought that programming content of commercial television was not influenced by the government of the day, only 34 per cent felt that the programming content of ZNBC TV was independent of the government. Seventynine per cent of respondents were of the view that private stations provided a better platform for information and debate on different or contending viewpoints on public issues, as against 58 per cent who gave ZNBC TV credit in this regard. Almost the same proportion of respondents, 78 per cent, observed that commercial radio stations encouraged informed discussion and debate on issues of public interest and only 60 per cent thought the ZNBC radio stations did so. Only 19 per cent of respondents

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perceived ZNBC radio as ‘independent from government’ while 73 per cent thought so in regard to private radio stations. This might be one of the reasons why 58 per cent of respondents did not mention ZNBC radio stations when asked to name their favourite broadcaster. Both sectors, the ZNBC as well as private radio and television, could produce more documentary programmes on matters of public interest. In the case of commercial stations this would be a welcome change from the many phone-in talk shows mostly on political current affairs that these stations seem to be almost obsessed with. Many of these shows have become a form of entertainment rather than a serious attempt at probing the issues – the same people keep phoning in and the programmes are in danger of degenerating into a platform for a club of opinionated individuals. International news on both private and public service broadcasters appear to be a mere case of ‘cut and paste’: they are lifted from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Deutsche Welle (DW) or Radio France International (RFI) without the local broadcaster giving any necessary background or context.

5

Feedback and complaints procedures

The ZNBC occasionally conducts research into specific issues and also relies on correspondence or telephone calls from the audience for feedback on any aspect of the services provided. Complaints are usually channeled through the public relations office of the ZNBC and referred to the respective offices and sections for thorough investigations and responses. According to Ms Juliana Mwila, the acting director-general,107 people also have the chance to walk into the newsroom and other offices to register their complaints which, if genuine and valid, will be addressed with urgency. There is, however, little evidence to show that the public is aware of this opportunity, nor are there any records or figures of the number of complaints lodged with the ZNBC. The ZNBC runs programmes on television to answer queries from the public on a variety of topics from TV licences and licence fees to programming. In addition, a window has also been opened on the ZNBC website where listeners and viewers can write in, and telephone numbers of responsible staff whom people are free to call with their complaints are advertised both on TV and on the website. Viewers also write to the editor of the private The Post newspaper with complaints about programmes and services provided by ZNBC TV. Depending on the severity
107 Interview with Juliana Mwila, acting director-general, ZNBC, on 27 June 2009.

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and impact of the complaint, the public relations manager of the ZNBC will send a response to be published on the paper’s letters page. Notwithstanding repeated public demands for better programming and services, particularly in view of the K 3 000 television licence fee that viewers are expected to pay every month, Mwila seemed fairly satisfied with the current state of affairs: ‘It is worth noting that as the ZNBC, we have never gone before a tribunal to answer for wrongdoing. This shows a watertight system of addressing public concerns.’108 Muvi Television is yet to put in place any formal systems for feedback and complaints from the public. At Radio Phoenix there are also no official procedures for that purpose. However, people are free to call in person or by telephone and write to the station with any complaints or feedback. Christine N. Tanzala, the station manager, said the broadcaster had an ‘on air-line’, a studio telephone line directly linked to the presenter on duty, for the public to use and there were frequent announcements inviting people to express their views or disquiet about the services of the radio station.109

6 Conclusions and recommendations
The ZNBC’s Producers’ Guidelines provide a useful basis upon which the broadcaster could improve its performance – if programme makers regularly referred to it and effectively applied the rules and principles contained in the handbook (with the exception of the chapter on ‘Presidential and Ministerial Coverages’). It is thus critical that staff be allowed to put into practice what is in the Guidelines. As things stand, however, the general feeling is that staff are more likely to be upbraided rather than commended for performing their work in a truly professional manner. ZNBC television and radio news bulletins are largely the same: all news stories are generated, compiled and written in a central newsroom and then passed on to the television and radio channels for broadcast in English and translation into Zambian languages. The public in Zambia deserves better programming from its public service broadcaster. There is a need for the ZNBC to be sensitive and responsive to public demands for programmes that are relevant, appropriate and appealing. The ZNBC should widen its coverage of events, topics and community issues and act as a truly public service broadcaster by giving a voice to all sectors of society and not confining itself to government/official pronouncements.

108 Ibid. 109 Christine N. Tanzala, station manager of Radio Phoenix, in a statement on 23 November 2009.

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recommendations
• ZNBC management must ensure that the Producers’ Guidelines are consistently adhered to and applied in practice. • Guidelines on the coverage of the president and ministers need to be reviewed as they give prominence to the executive at the expense of other newsworthy events and issues. • The editorial independence of the ZNBC should be respected. Rules and procedures of editorial policy must be clearly spelt out and publicised. • The ZNBC should urgently revisit the programme schedules of both its television and radio services to make them more attractive and meaningful to the public. • The ZNBC should introduce more participatory programmes, for example, phone-in talk shows. • There is a need for the ZNBC to undertake regular audience research or hold select public meetings to find out what programmes listeners and viewers would like the public service broadcaster to provide and what topics they want it to cover. In this regard even simple or brief opinion polls would be useful. This approach would help improve programming and make the ZNBC more competitive with other broadcasters. • Similarly, other broadcasting stations need to periodically conduct some audience research in order to adjust and improve their services in line with listeners’ and viewers’ expectations. • All broadcasters should develop feedback and complaints procedures and encourage the public to make use of them. This would not only allow listeners and viewers to make their voices heard but also enable the stations to better gauge their audiences’ needs and remedy any shortcomings in the broadcasting services they provide. • The ZNBC should publicise its feedback and complaints procedures widely so that the public can make use of them, offer their views or suggestions and become actively involved in the work of the public service broadcaster. The ZNBC should also find time to periodically engage with listeners and viewers to explain its position vis-à-vis challenges and prospects for improving its operations.

9
Broadcasting Reform Efforts

1

Perceptions of the ZNBC

With the exception of government, all sectors of society are unhappy with the ZNBC. The minister of information and broadcasting services and also chief government spokesperson, Ronnie Shikapwasha,110 expressed full satisfaction with the performance of the ZNBC. He said government would accordingly retain the ZNBC as the national broadcaster to service the nation and the public. In his – and the government’s – view ‘the independence of free discussion of ideas and opinions’ had already been achieved, ‘but even then ZNBC must retain a public mandate character’. Different civil society organisations are unanimous in stating that the ZNBC is falling short of their expectations. There is a widely shared perception that its performance and programming do not fulfill the four principles of universality, diversity, independence and distinctiveness required of a public service broadcaster. The views expressed point towards what ought to be done, particularly in transforming the state broadcaster into a truly public service broadcaster. Measures to be taken would include a careful review of the critical and largely negative judgement of the ZNBC’s performance as well as initiating changes in the relevant legislation to accommodate the necessary reforms or adjustments. Fr Paul Samasumo, executive director of the Catholic Media Services and spokesperson of the Zambia Episcopal Conference,111 gave the following nuanced assessment:
ZNBC has been over-politicised by politicians who have such a hold on it that it is failing to fulfill its mandate adequately. Successive governments that have ruled Zambia –
110 Interview with Ronnie Shikapwasha, minister of information and broadcasting services on 19 October 2009. 111 Interview with Fr Paul Samasumo, spokesperson of the Zambia Episcopal Conference on 7 September 2009.

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even in colonial times – have never really allowed the organisation to fulfill its public mandate and vision. The few documents and aspirations from ZNBC that I have had a chance to look at are truly beautiful and indicate that this organisation or indeed the people who are working there are aware of the requirements of what a public service broadcaster should do. They fall short when it comes to implementation. My interactions with the staff at ZNBC seem to indicate a certain level of frustration. Though they are professionals, there is a feeling that they always have to look over their shoulders in their day to day work. This results in self-censorship. The problem is that it is difficult to provide any proof for this unless former and present employees come out and speak out. Clearly for the sake of their livelihoods they dare not say anything. In my humble opinion ZNBC does not fulfill the expectations of various nongovernment stakeholders. This explains why free to air channels and private radio and TV stations are preferred to ZNBC which is viewed as too biased in favour of government. This is more apparent during election times when government ministers and MMD politicians are given preference over opposition candidates and the electoral guidelines thrown to the wind by ZNBC itself. Happily, the ZNBC Zambian languages cultural programmes are, however, welcome and refreshing. This is true also of the weekly one hour Zambian languages programmes.

Mulenga Kabiti, chairman in charge of broadcasting at the MISA-Zambia,112 felt that the Corporation was one-sided in its coverage of news and current affairs, but that sections of the ZNBC were doing well particularly in respect of such Zambian programmes as Ifyabuya, Ilyashi Lyapano Isonde, Sowelo and many others. He said currently most broadcasts were Lusaka and studio based and there was a need for the ZNBC to venture into biographical, historical, cultural, scientific and cultural documentaries. A Lusaka-based World Bank Communications Specialist, Jumbe Ngoma,113 said the ZNBC was not what one could even in generous terms describe as a public service broadcaster, but rather a ‘government radio and television station’ which wielded a lot of public influence because of its reach. The independence of the ZNBC was not manifest in all its products, starting with
112 Interview with Mulenga Kabiti, chairman for broadcasting, MISA-Zambia on 6 August 2009. 113 Interview with Jumbe Ngoma, communications specialist, World Bank Zambia Office on 18 August 2009.

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its news bulletins, with the situation worsening further during election times. This, he said, was due to the fact that ZNBC was essentially a ‘government mouthpiece’. It could aspire to be a public service broadcaster only after restructuring the board of directors in accordance with the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2002 and, in particular, after making it answerable to parliament. In comparison, the performance of the ZNBC did not match that of Muvi TV in responding to expectations of the community. In Ngoma’s view the local community considered itself part of Muvi TV because the station covered a great deal of community events and offered an alternative voice. He was, however, mindful of the fact that some of the private radio and television stations failed dismally to comply with professional ethics. Elijah Rubvuta, executive director of the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP),114 a not-for-profit civil society organisation primarily engaged in promoting good and democratic governance in Zambia, said that the ZNBC did not meet the vision of serving the public interest. The Corporation was more inclined towards serving the government at the expense of other sectors of society, especially those seen to be propagating independent and critical views. The views of politicians, in particular those in power, were projected at the expense of members of opposition parties. Editorial independence was compromised and listeners and viewers were thus deprived of access to balanced information and the full spectrum of ideas which would enable them to make independent choices or decisions and so effectively participate in national affairs. The ZNBC did not promote the principle of free speech and expression because even paid for programmes had to be cleared for being ‘politically suitable’; if found unsuitable they were either not aired or assigned to some inappropriate time. A case in point was a FODEP television programme on electoral reform advocacy that was broadcast after 22h00 – when most viewers were either tired or had already gone to bed. Rubvuta complimented the ZNBC for offering some educative programmes such as those on agriculture, assistance for people with disabilities, and the promotion of activities that benefited the poor and the marginalised. In his view, the ZNBC did not offer human rights programmes that could empower people with information on any of their rights. According to the NGO Women for Change,115 the ZNBC as a public service broadcaster fell short of its mandate in its programming and reporting as it was mostly seen to be or indeed serving only the current government. Its tone and choice
114 Interview with Elijah Rubvuta, executive director, FODEP on 20 August 2009. 115 Women for Change, op.cit.

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of programming especially in respect of current affairs and news were far below what was expected of a public service broadcaster. Women for Change attributed this poor performance to apparent or perceived pressure on the broadcaster under the direct influence of the government through the MIBS – even though the ministry has often denied exerting such influence. This, the organisation said, made the ZNBC accountable mainly to the incumbent government and less to the public as a whole. Women for Change lauded the ZNBC for its contribution to economic, social and cultural development in Africa. The group cited coverage of major regional summits of the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the way the broadcaster provided interpretation of such meetings and the resolutions taken for people to understand and identify integration opportunities that promote trade as well as cultural and economic integration across and beyond national borders. Guy Scott, vice-president of the opposition political party Patriotic Front and member of the parliamentary committee on information and broadcasting,116 said: ‘The ZNBC has not lived up to our expectations as the Patriotic Front. ZNBC, as a national broadcaster, has played a typical role of a state broadcaster – promoting the voice of the ruling party.’ As a national broadcaster that depends on taxpayers, ‘we expect the ZNBC to be accessible by all stakeholders, not just the ruling party or government officials’. The broadcaster, in his view, appeared to have adopted a strategy of discrediting certain opposition members of parliament by providing a platform to groups of nondescripts from selected constituencies without verifying that information with the affected MPs or affording them an opportunity to explain their side of the story. Scott said it was difficult to understand where such a tradition came from. He also felt strongly that the ZNBC ought to lead in upholding high standards of professionalism among its staff.

2

Current reform efforts

Efforts to transform the ZNBC from a state into a public broadcaster have been on the agenda since 1992, a year after the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) took power. A media reform committee (MRC) set up by the new government recommended at the time that the ZNBC ‘be totally removed from the control of government and placed under an independent public authority accountable to and
116 Interview with Dr Guy Scott on 15 September 2009.

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financed by Parliament’, and that ‘the government should open up broadcasting to private enterprise’. When the recommendations of the government-appointed MRC were not implemented by the government, another meeting of representatives from media and legal institutions was held in June 1999. This resulted in the formation of a task force to review afresh laws which impede press freedom. The task force made recommendations on media law reforms that, inter alia, included: • commercialisation of the ZNBC; • financial support to the ZNBC to be given through a direct allocation from parliament (not from the MIBS); • amendment of the Zambia National Broadcasting Services Act to provide for representative board members; • creation of an Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to regulate broadcasting services in Zambia. A final report produced by the task force in January 2000 triggered a series of campaigns by various media associations in the form of press conferences, seminars and workshops for key stakeholders such as politicians and members of parliament. MISA-Zambia even commissioned a study on the nature and possibility of establishing an IBA in Zambia. The concerted campaigns and lobbying by media associations over a period of two years culminated in the media community engaging a private law firm to draft an amendment bill of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act of 1987, an IBA bill and a Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. The three bills were to be presented to parliament as private members’ bills by opposition MPs. Before this could be done, the government intervened and persuaded the opposition to allow the minister of information and broadcasting services to present the three bills to parliament in November 2002. Of the three, the ZNBC (Amendment) Bill and the IBA Bill were subsequently enacted and signed into law by the president on 31 December 2002. Due parliamentary process and consideration of the FOI Bill was, however, unexpectedly stopped on 18 December 2002. Ever since government has said that the FOI Bill needed thorough review and wide consultation to make it effective in the Zambian context. The passing of the ZNBC (Amendment) Act and the IBA Act in 2002, however, was far from the end of the story. The implementation of both acts has been halted by a drawn-out legal battle over the process of appointing members of the boards of directors of the two bodies. The battle pitted a group of six media associations against the minister of information and broadcasting services over interpretation about who

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had the final say in the selection of names of nominees to be tabled before parliament for ratification. The matter was heard first by the High Court which ruled in favour of the media associations. When government appealed the ruling, the Supreme Court decided in favour of the minister of information and broadcasting services, representing the government. Local media practitioners and media organisations have remained on tenterhooks waiting for new developments since March 2007. In that month the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the government and against six media organisations which had sought the assistance of the courts to force government to present its nominees for the ZNBC and IBA boards to parliament for ratification. Pronouncements at various times by the president and the minister of information and broadcasting services have mollified media organisations and prevented them from pressurising government for speedier and full implementation of the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2002 and the IBA Act. In a surprise move in March 2010, parliament passed yet another amendment, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Act no. 16 of 2010, signed into law by the president on 13 April 2010. This act makes no further mention of the much-heralded independent ‘ad hoc appointments committee’ and in effect gives the authority for nominating and appointing the board of directors of the ZNBC back to the minister of information and broadcasting services, with the provision that he/she may invite proposals from designated organisations and associations as identified in the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2002. The same happened in the case of the IBA Act. An Amendment Act passed in July 2010 scrapped the appointments committee for the selection of the IBA board and gave the power to appoint members to the minister. Most of the reform efforts undertaken since 1992 have thus come to little or nothing. Regarding MISA-Zambia’s general advocacy approach its chairman Henry Kabwe explained in an interview for this study that local media bodies had decided to unite and fight for media freedom as a coalition rather than pursuing separate advocacy efforts. In his view it was important to use more persuasive language and alternative forms of communication such as popular drama to reach out to the general public and to make citizens aware of the benefits of a less restricted media and the consequent need for media reforms. MISA-Zambia would seek to continue with a style of advocacy that was non-confrontational and consultative, but might have to reconsider its approach should government remain unyielding on certain issues.117
117 Interview with Henry Kabwe, chairman, MISA-Zambia, on 7 September 2009.

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In order to advance the cause of media freedom, he said, MISA-Zambia was ready to engage lawyers whenever violations were committed against media practitioners or media houses. Furthermore, the organisation would arrange a series of conferences on media law reforms for members of parliament as well as involve a consortium of civil society organisations in all its advocacy work. Kabwe said media bodies had received confirmation from the MIBS that it had suspended the issuing of broadcasting licences until the IBA is finally established and made operational. During the ceremonial opening of the National Assembly in September 2009, President Rupiah B. Banda informed the nation that the IBA (Amendment) Bill 2009 would be among the bills to be tabled during his term. In fact, it was in July 2010 that the IBA (Amendment) Bill no. 25 was tabled in parliament. The Bill repealed and replaced a substantial portion of Part IV of the original IBA Act of 2002, as described in chapter 5. Media bodies have continued lobbying the government for the enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill and, according to Kabwe, have been assured by the MIBS that the FOI Bill would be tabled before parliament in January 2010. However, just before parliament adjourned in March 2010 Vice-President and Leader of the House George Kunda said in response to a question about the bill that consultations were ‘still going on’. Media bodies intend to persist in pressing for the FOI law to be passed.

3

Future of public service broadcasting

Given the work of the media reform committee and the task force on media law reforms in Zambia and the subsequent series of public conferences, seminars and workshops held for select target groups since 2002, many stakeholders and opinion leaders in the country have by now been made sufficiently aware of the ideals and principles of public broadcasting. For example, at a National Stakeholders’ Conference on Public Service Broadcasting in Zambia, convened by MISA-Zambia in collaboration with MISA’s regional secretariat in Windhoek, Namibia, and held in Lusaka in August 2006, participants pledged to ‘intensify the struggle for the transformation of ZNBC into a public service broadcaster’ and recommended a number of strategies to achieve that objective. Participants included a number of high-ranking members of four political parties but no representative of the ruling party. Staff members from different levels within the ZNBC have also attended some of the seminars and workshops focusing on the aim and strategies of transforming the Corporation into a public service broadcaster. It is safe to assume, therefore, that most

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of the ZNBC staff are ready to be absorbed into the ‘new’ entity and just await the official and legal process to effect the transformation. While the concept of a public service broadcaster has progressively been embraced and accepted by various stakeholders, there seems to be some latent apprehension and hesitation on the part of government and the ruling party to let go of the powerful propaganda machine conveniently used against political opponents. This position is both historical and strategic and has been shared by governments from the colonial era, throughout the post-independence period up to the current administration. So far, efforts towards establishing public service broadcasting have concentrated on the principal ZNBC Act of 1987 and the ZNBC (Amendment) Acts of 2002 and 2010 rather than on repealing these and drafting a new bill that would specifically aim at establishing a ‘Zambia Public Broadcasting Service’ and contain all the necessary provisions to suit the requirements of such a service. The odds are that both relentless and aggressive campaigns by advocates of public service broadcasting as well as radical decision-making on the part of government will be necessary to eventually transform the ZNBC into a public service broadcaster.

4 Conclusions and recommendations
Public perceptions of the ZNBC are generally negative and expectations low. The ZNBC continues to face challenges, especially with regard to its impartiality, that need to be addressed systematically if the public broadcaster is to turn around its public image. One way of doing this is to continually interact with key stakeholders to devise a sustainable system that would inform the ZNBC on what ought to be changed. Applying the ideals contained in the Producer’s Guidelines would do much to help in the process. The ZNBC has been lauded for offering programmes in Zambian languages and educational programming on topics like agriculture, health and the coverage of international and regional summits. Such programmes are usually not provided by private broadcasters. There is scope for the ZNBC to open up regional TV stations that could offer fully local Zambian-language TV services. Perhaps the most urgent need is for government and politicians to give the ZNBC true autonomy and space for it to operate in a way that lives up to the expectations people have of a public broadcaster. It is never easy for a government or political party in power to relinquish partisan control over a state-owned and state-controlled broadcaster, to be used as its mouthpiece to publicise its projects and programmes and thus help to ensure its continued stay in

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power. On the other hand, the merits of a credible public broadcaster, which will assist in promoting the aims of transparency, accountability and democratic development, far outweigh any partisan vested interests.

recommendations
• The ZNBC should be given true autonomy and space to fulfill the expectations of the public towards a public broadcaster. • To this end the existing ZNBC Acts need to be replaced by new legislation that establishes a ‘Zambia Public Broadcasting Service’. • The changes introduced through the IBA Amendment Act 2010 in regard to the appointment of the IBA board must be reviewed. • Notwithstanding the controversy on the appointments procedure for the IBA board, the IBA should be established urgently. Civil society should closely monitor the performance of the authority. • Media associations and other key stakeholders should increase their lobbying efforts towards these objectives.

10
Overall Conclusions and Recommendations

In December 2006, Zambia formulated a national ‘Vision 2030’ which is intended to guide the country towards becoming ‘A prosperous middle-income nation by 2030’. The vision is founded on principles of sustainable development, upholding democratic principles, respect for human beings, fostering family values, positive attitude to work, peaceful coexistence, and upholding good traditional values.118 Zambia is recovering from a period of economic crisis during which the country accumulated a debt of US$ 7.2 billion, written off by donor countries in 2007. To achieve this debt ‘forgiveness’ the government imposed a number of stringent economic reforms. The standard of living for the majority of the people has not improved since and the government has yet to demonstrate that its tough reforms will bear tangible fruit for the ordinary citizen. Compared to the one-party state era from 1973 to 1990 there has been a considerable extension of the scope of freedom of expression under multi-party rule since 1991. Laws such as the Printed Publications Act, the Penal Code, the State Security Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Defamation Act, the Copyright and Performances Act and the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, however, negatively affect the operations of the media in Zambia. There have been instances when newspapers, radio and television stations have had to face expensive litigation on account of being found guilty of failing to comply with some of these laws. Ownership of the newspaper industry has always been dominated by the ruling class, i.e. by colonialists or white settlers in the pre-independence era, and by the political party in power since the country attained political independence in 1964. Rulers of all persuasions have sought to remain in power by ensuring publication
118 Republic of Zambia, Vision 2030, December 2006, p. iv.

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of information that projected positive images about themselves. Like the colonial power before them the United National Independence Party (UNIP) on attaining independence in October 1964, and subsequently the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) since 1991 strategically retained a very tight grip on the main daily newspapers – the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail. The history of newspapers in Zambia, mainly published in English, has shown that most privately-owned papers have a short life span, inter alia because of high printing costs, low sales, inadequate advertising revenue, inability of people to buy, and distribution networks being largely limited to cities and town centres. It is for these reasons that radio – more than television – has proved over time to be the most widely accessible means of disseminating and receiving information. Ownership and control of radio and television stations have followed a similar pattern: the ZNBC always fell under the party in power. With the opening up of the airwaves in 1994, however, private and commercial investors began to start radio and television stations in various parts of Zambia. In terms of numbers and reach, broadcasting in Zambia is dominated by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). The ZNBC operates three radio stations as well as ZNBC Television and TV2, a commercial channel officially launched in January 2010. In 2002, the ZNBC Amendment Act promised the transformation of the state into a public broadcaster. An appointments committee made up primarily of civil society representatives was to nominate the members of the ZNBC board of directors. The minister of information and broadcasting services was supposed to submit these nominees to parliament for approval but she insisted on changes to the proposed list of names. An extended court battle followed which government finally won. In April 2010, with the adoption of the ZNBC (Amendment) Act 2010, the appointments committee was removed from the process completely. It is now the minister alone who selects and recommends nominees for the board for ratification by parliament. Although the ZNBC is nominally a public broadcaster funded by government grants and a television levy paid by users, it has not lived up to the expectations of such a broadcaster. Over the years the ZNBC has developed and nurtured an ingrained bias in favour of the government of the day in all its news and current affairs programmes. Opposition parties and civil society organisations have roundly criticised it for promoting programmes that merely project favourably the activities of government to the exclusion of other political parties and for failing to uphold public service broadcasting principles. The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act passed in 2002 was designed to create an independent broadcasting regulator in line with the Declaration of Principles

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on Freedom of Expression in Africa. An Amendment Act passed in 2010, however, reversed many of these gains and largely reverted to executive control over the body. The IBA is still to be set up and made functional. In addition to the ZNBC there are five privately-owned television stations, ten commercial/private radio stations, 20 community radio stations and eight religious or faith-based radio stations. Most of these operators are by regulation limited to broadcasting within a radio of 150 km. The numbers of community and commercial/private radio stations are everincreasing. What seems to be lacking is a holistic broadcasting policy which includes this sector. The sustainability of these stations is questionable with all of them chasing after too few advertisers or programme sponsors as well as limited business management skills. Most community stations have survived on support from donors. Zambia has initiated efforts in readiness for the switchover to digital broadcasting in June 2015. The preparatory process is slow. It is evident, however, that the switchover will require massive investment in new technology. Civil society organisations and media associations have over the decades been pointing out what ought to be done, particularly in regard to transforming the ZNBC into a truly public service broadcaster. The resistance from government towards broadcasting reforms appears to hinge on its fear of losing its powerful propaganda machine.

Recommendations
constitution
Articles 58 to 60 in the Draft Constitution of June 2010 concerning freedom of expression and the media should be reviewed: • Article 58(1) does not exclude interferences in the right of freedom of expression. • Article 58(2) contains definitions for possible limitations to freedom of expression which are too broad. • Article 58(3) allows for the limitation of the right to freedom of expression for a wide range of vaguely specified reasons and could open the way for the compulsory registration (and de-registration) of print (or internet) media and thus allow for the banning of publications. • Article 59 does not clearly stipulate that every person has the right to access to information held by public bodies.

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• Article 60(2) limits the right of journalists not to disclose a source of information. • Article 60(3) allows for the limitation of media freedom for a wide range of vaguely specified reasons and, similar to article 58 (3), could open the way for the compulsory registration (and de-registration) of print (or internet) media and thus allow for the banning of publications. • Article 60(4) and 60(5) allows for the statutory licensing of print (and internet) media. • Article 60(6) establishes an independent broadcasting authority; a similar constitutional guarantee should also be given for the independence of the public broadcaster.

Media legislation and regulation
• Parliament should repeal the following sections of the Penal Code: – 53–55 which empower the president to ban publications; – 57 and 60 which deal with sedition; – 191 to 198 of the Penal Code which criminalise defamation • Parliament should review the following sections of the Penal Code: – 69 and 71 which give special protection to the president and foreign dignitaries against alleged defamation; – 116 which deals with contempt of court; – 177(1) of the Penal Code which deals with ‘obscene matters’ without properly defining obscenity; • Parliament should also review the State Security Act (in light of the fact that Zambia is no longer threatened by neighbouring countries) as well as the Anti-Terrorism Act in order to provide a precise definition of ‘terrorism’ and safeguard against possible abuse of the provisions of the Act. • Parliament should repeal sections 19 and 21 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act which grant parliament unreasonable protection against criticism. • Government should as a matter of urgency reintroduce the Freedom of Information Bill in parliament. If this does not happen in the near future, civil society organisations must consider alternative and more intensive strategies to exert stronger pressure on government to do so. • The Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) should be established immediately, regardless of opposing views or actions of government, and be fully supported by all the media. It must put all its efforts into convincing the public and

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media that a non-statutory, voluntary and self-regulating media council can exercise discernible authority and win the confidence of the nation. To this end: – the media industry as a whole and the entire media fraternity should support the council by complying with its code and findings as well as by financial contributions; – the council itself must embark on a broad campaign to make the public aware of its existence, its functions and the modalities of lodging complaints with the body; – the council must deal with complaints speedily and issue findings which enhance the standard of journalism in Zambia.

broadcasting landscape
• The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) established by law in 2002 must be constituted and must be made operational so that it can carry out its mandate without further delay. • Once established, the IBA should initiate the process of drawing up a comprehensive broadcasting policy to guide the development of the industry. • The IBA should also develop a clear policy on community radio (and television). Such a policy and the regulatory requirements based on it must clearly distinguish community broadcasting from private commercial and public service broadcasting. • The development of a policy on media concentration is overdue. It should clearly define ‘monopolies’ and ‘cross-media ownership’. This, however, should not be done at the expense of inhibiting the growth of the media sector. • Opportunities must be explored for the establishment of radio stations whose objectives are orientated more towards communication for development and the promotion of indigenous programmes, rather than those driven exclusively by economic motives. • The IBA must develop effective measures to protect all sectors of broadcasting against interference by government. • MISA-Zambia and government should be encouraged to further assist with the upgrading of technical equipment for all sectors of broadcasting. Mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that the government’s planned

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Revolving Media Fund is not used to grant favours to operators who are sympathetic to the ruling party.

digitalisation
The government will need to monitor closely the national task force to spearhead the efforts and plans towards digital migration focusing, amongst others, on the following priorities: • Develop a clear roadmap towards the (national) deadline of 2013 in consultation with all stakeholders – broadcasters, signal distributors and consumers in particular; • Step up public awareness for the digital migration process through a publicprivate partnership; • Set suitable specifications for set-top boxes (STBs) to be imported; • Devise measures to ensure that importers offer television sets that are HD ready to receive signals without the STBs, to prevent people from investing unnecessarily in equipment that will soon be obsolete. In addition government should waive import duty on STBs; • Ensure protection for vulnerable media and vulnerable communities who risk being permanently switched off due to the unaffordability of STBs or the costs payable to the signal distributor; • Consider zero-rating tax on digital broadcasting equipment to enable broadcasting houses to purchase more digital equipment. This facility could be granted for a limited period.

broadcasting legislation and regulation
• Media organisations should continue to advocate for an IBA that is truly independent, transparent, accountable and credible. • After the enactment of the IBA (Amendment) Act of 2010, media organisations should monitor its implementation closely, assess its impact on the performance of the regulator and possibly start a campaign to change the provisions on the appointment procedure for the IBA board. • Notwithstanding the grave concerns over the new appointment procedures, the government urgently needs to clear the way for the IBA to take up its work. • Once established, the IBA and its board must work very astutely to win the

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trust and confidence of media houses and the public. They need to be seen as an impartial body independent of the government and other political or economic influences, seeking to facilitate an enabling broadcasting environment in the interest of the public. They will also have to exhibit an exemplary level of even-handedness and fair play in relation to all stakeholders in the broadcasting industry. • The IBA, in consultation with stakeholders and the public, should develop clear criteria for the licensing of broadcasters and licence conditions that address, among others, the issue of local content for radio and television. • The IBA and the broadcasting industry must make sure that audiences are well informed about the complaints procedures provided for in the IBA Act and the various codes of professional standards.

the Znbc: legislation and organisation
• Civil society organisations should continue their efforts to transform the ZNBC into a truly public service broadcaster by developing new models for the governance of the corporation and drawing up new ZNBC legislation which is in line with standards set by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. • Given the new appointment procedures for the ZNBC board introduced by the ZNBC (Amendment) Act of 2010 and the latitude they give to the minister in charge of broadcasting, civil society organisations must renew their efforts to ensure that the new board of the ZNBC is appointed in an open and transparent way, and is protected against political or economic interference. • The new board should, among other tasks: – inform itself thoroughly on the role and functions of a public service broadcaster and organise appropriate training for senior and mid-level staff of the corporation; – review the organisational structures of the ZNBC to bring them in line with the requirements of a modern public service broadcaster; – ensure that editorial and programme scheduling decisions are based on the public interest and not on the interests of sponsors and advertisers; – introduce a policy that gives the ZNBC editorial responsibility over all its programming, including that produced by sponsors;

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establish a news and current affairs department able to take autonomous decisions.

the Znbc: funding
In view of the present financial status of the ZNBC it is recommended that: • The new board commission a thorough audit of the corporation’s financial status by an independent accounting firm; • On the basis of a new programme policy, the organisational structure of the ZNBC be reviewed and reformed, in particular regarding administrative processes and expenses, with the objective to dedicate a higher proportion of funds to programming compared to human resources and administration; • On the basis of the new programme policy and organisational structure, a business plan be developed which reflects the financial needs of the ZNBC and potential sources of revenue; • The government order the Zambia Revenue Authority to consider debtforgiveness for the ZNBC to give the corporation a clean bill of health before its transformation into a public service broadcaster. Regarding the television levy, it is recommended that: • The monthly levy be increased to a reasonable but socially fair amount, subject to inflation-indexed regular adjustments (provided that the ZNBC offers better programming than it does now); • Efforts be made to improve significantly the compliance rate for payment of the levy among viewers and listeners. In regard to revenues from the state budget it is recommended that: • An independent panel of experts determine the amount of a subsidy needed by the ZNBC over a three-year period to fulfill its public service broadcasting mandate; • Parliament fund the public service broadcaster directly (and not through a ministry or department) on the basis of the amount determined by the panel of experts; • Government provide support for special programmes that deal with development issues such as promotion of the Millennium Development Goals.

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Concerning advertisements and sponsorships it is recommended that the ZNBC: • Develop clear and strict guidelines on soliciting advertisements and conditions for accepting advertisements and programme sponsorships that will safeguard the broadcaster’s editorial independence, for example in terms of scheduling; • Assume full editorial responsibility for sponsored programmes either by producing them in-house or commissioning them from independent production firms, who would also work in accordance with the corporation’s guidelines and policies; • Explore financial models, including the establishment of an independent funding agency, to build capacity in the private production industry and to increase co-productions with independent producers.

Programming
• ZNBC management must ensure that the Producers’ Guidelines are consistently adhered to and applied in practice. • Guidelines on the coverage of the president and ministers need to be reviewed as they give prominence to the executive at the expense of other newsworthy events and issues. • The editorial independence of the ZNBC should be respected. Rules and procedures of editorial policy must be clearly spelt out and publicised. • The ZNBC should urgently revisit the programme schedules of both its television and radio services to make them more attractive and meaningful to the public. • The ZNBC should introduce more participatory programmes, for example phone-in talk shows. • There is a need for the ZNBC to undertake regular audience research or hold select public meetings to find out what programmes listeners and viewers would like the public service broadcaster to provide and what topics they want it to cover. In this regard even simple or brief opinion polls would be useful. This approach would help improve programming and make the ZNBC more competitive with other broadcasters. • Similarly, other broadcasting stations need to periodically conduct some audience research in order to adjust and improve their services in line with listeners’ and viewers’ expectations. • All broadcasters should develop feedback and complaints procedures and

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encourage the public to make use of them. This would not only allow listeners and viewers to make their voices heard but also enable the stations to better gauge their audiences’ needs and remedy any shortcomings in the broadcasting services they provide. • The ZNBC should publicise its feedback and complaints procedures widely so that the public can make use of them, offer their views or suggestions and become actively involved in the work of the public service broadcaster. The ZNBC should also find time to periodically engage with listeners and viewers to explain its position vis-à-vis challenges and prospects for improving its operations.

broadcasting reform efforts
• The ZNBC should be given true autonomy and space to fulfill the expectations of the public towards a public broadcaster. • To this end the existing ZNBC Acts need to be replaced by new legislation that establishes a ‘Zambia Public Broadcasting Service’. • The changes introduced through the IBA Amendment Act 2010 in regard to the appointment of the IBA board must be reviewed. • Notwithstanding the controversy on the appointments procedure for the IBA board, the IBA should be established urgently. Civil society should closely monitor the performance of the authority. • Media associations and other key stakeholders should increase their lobbying efforts towards these objectives.

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