ZNBC stops airing MMD campaign adverts

THE decision by ZNBC to remove adverts that were considered negative and against the guidelines angered the MMD.

The MMD has also accused the Patriotic Front of having issued instructions to ZNBC to air the former ruling party’s political advertisement.

But the Patriotic Front has denied reports that it has instructed ZNBC to stop airing MMD political advertisement.

PF secretary general Davis Chama said the party had no idea of any MMD advertisement that was stopped and wondered why the opposition party was claiming that a PF minister had issued such instructions.

Mr Chama was reacting to claims by MMD acting national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima that the broadcaster had dropped the party’s political advert following an instruction from a PF minister.

“It is a laughable matter, how can we interfere in the operations of ZNBC. No PF minister can do that because as far as PF is concerned, there is no MMD to be afraid of. It could be that they have run out of money, why is it that advertisements for other political parties are running on ZNBC. We have not stopped the UPND who are claiming that they will win the January 20th election.

There is no MMD and we cannot do such cheap politics,” Mr Chama said.

According to a letter written to ZNBC director general, MMD acting secretary general by the stopping of the former ruling party’s advertisements was a clear breach of contract.

He said the action had severe and irreparable consequences especially that they were going to the presidential election in less than a fortnight.

Mr Mbulakulima said the PF had no right to interfere in the operations of ZNBC and that if the advertisement was paid for, there was no need to stop it.

He said the illegal and unwarranted pulling down of their political advert would also adversely affect their capacity to campaign effectively.

“Further, this decision also offends the electoral code of conduct which mandates your organisation to give equal and/or fair coverage to all the competitors in the election.

We shall therefore by copy of this letter be lodging a complaint to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) regarding this illegal, unfair and biased conduct on your part.

“Your decision is particularly unfair to and biased against the MMD given that you have allowed all the competitors in the forthcoming election to freely air their adverts on both radio and television without hampering or censoring them,” read the letter in part.

Mr Mbulakulima said his party would also proceed to report the officers involved to the relevant investigative authorities for abuse of their offices.

When contacted for a comment, ZNBC director general Richard Mwanza said he would only be able to comment on the matter later.

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