The Independent Broadcasting Authority code of ethics and complaints procedure has been launched with Information Minister Joseph Katema saying the Patriotic Front government will continue to respect media freedoms.
Dr. Katema said the establishment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) was clear testimony that the PF government was committed to liberalizing the airwaves.
He was speaking during the launch in Lusaka yesterday.
Dr. Katema, who congratulated the IBA for finalizing the ethics guidelines, called on the organisation to be firm and fair in effecting the code of ethics.
He reminded journalists to use the freedom of expression with responsibility, stating that every freedom carried with it some responsibility.
Dr Katema said the code of ethics launched were not strange as they were media houses suggestions to the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC).
“The ethical guidelines the IBA is unveiling today are not a strange document to media practitioners. Government therefore does not expect the media to have any difficulties in complying with these requirements,” he said.
And IBA director general Josephine Mapoma has expressed optimism that her organization would carry out its mandate given by the government.
Ms Mapoma who reiterated the independence of the IBA observed that the media had a critical role to play in effectively providing news and information, interpret government policy and facilitate the development of the media sector for a well-informed citizenry and sustainable development.
She appealed to members of the public who may wish to set up broadcasting stations to seek guidance from the IBA which would from time to time advertise the available frequencies .
Ms Mapoma emphasized that applications and license renewals for radio and television stations would now be processed at the IBA and not the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
She revealed that between July 2013 and now, the IBA board issued ten construction permits for radio, seven test transmission licences (one for TV and six for radio), six permits for radio coverage expansion and 12 full broadcast licences for radio.