GOVERNMENT has appointed a nine member Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) board which includes retired commandant in charge of intelligence and security Brigadier General Justine Mutale.
Information Minister Joseph Katema told a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday that among those approved by cabinet were accountant Hillary Banda, Izone ICT solutions managing director Hilda Akekelwa, and retired broadcaster Alphonsio Kashulwe.
He said others were Opti Quest Media Solutions Limited Chief Executive Officer Patricia Mwase, Zamtel chief marketing officer Evans Muhanga, former Central province education officer Enita Hamatumbika, Barrick Lumwana Mine sustainability manager Brenda Liswaniso and Ministry of Information permanent secretary Bert Mushala.
The IBA is a body established by the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act No. 17 of 2002 to regulate the broadcasting industry in Zambia.
Its functions include promotion of a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting industry, safeguard the rational and efficient use of frequencies allocated to broadcasting.
The IBA is meant to grant, review, suspend and cancel licences and frequencies for broadcasting services in an open and transparent manner.
The IBA also receives, investigates and decides on complaints concerning broadcasting services including public broadcasting services.
It also develops regulations in regard to advertising, sponsorship, local content, and media diversity and ownership.
Dr Katema commended and congratulated each of the board members for accepting to serve the nation in such capacities.
“Government is confident that this team has the competence, expertise and experience to grow the IBA from its current infancy stage to a formidable organisation that will oversee the growth of a professional and vibrant broadcasting industry in the country,” he said.
Dr Katema said the board had come into office against a background of high expectations from both the government and Zambians.
“Zambians needed the media to exercise high ethical and professional standards in its role of informing, educating and entertaining the public,” he said.
Dr Katema said being the first IBA board, the members had a mammoth task of laying a firm foundation upon which the authority would grow.
He urged board members to familiarize themselves with their mandate as provided in the law in taking the IBA to high levels of excellence.
“Government is re-assuring the nation that in line with its ‘hands-off’ policy on the media, it has given the IBA and indeed the media fraternity at large, a leeway to operate independently and professional for the benefit of the people,” he said.
Dr Katema said the development was in accordance with the Patriotic Front’s party manifesto which promised among other things to review and implement the provisions of the IBA Act of 2002 adding that it had stalled for over a decade during the previous governments.