MUVI Television and Komboni Radio will remain closed because they used the wrong procedure to try and challenge the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) board’s decision to suspend their broadcasting licences for alleged professional misconduct, the High Court has ruled.
This is in a case in which the two broadcasting stations dragged IBA and Zambia Information Communications and Technology Authority (ZICTA) to the Lusaka High Court, challenging the decision by the two authorities to suspend their broadcasting licenses for alleged professional misconduct.
On August 22, the IBA shut down Muvi Television, Komboni radio and Itezhi-tezhi radio for alleged unethical and unprofessional broadcasting practices of the electoral process which was likely to cause anarchy in the country.
But later the authority resolved to lift the suspension of Itezhi-tezhi radio after it apologized and appealed to the IBA to lift the suspension as it was the only source of information in the area.
However, Muvi Television and Komboni Radio sought a court order to compel IBA to reopen the stations, saying they would suffer irreparable damage if they remained closed. In his ruling yesterday, High Court judge Mwiinde Siavwapa upheld the preliminary objection and dismissed the whole appeal and the interlocutory application because the application for an order of the mandatory injunction was ill-fated.
Mr Justice Siavwapa ruled that the appeal to the court against the IBA board to suspend their licences was misconceived and rather incompetent.
He further ruled that the two stations simply used the wrong procedure to try and challenge IBA board’s decision to have their broadcasting licences suspended.
Mr Justice Siavwapa has stated that a person aggrieved by the decision of the board could not appeal to the High Court as only a decision of the minister was appealable to the High Court.
He further said in the case before him, there was no decision by the minister which the appellants might have used to appeal to the High Court.
Mr Justice Siavwapa added that his ruling on the application for a mandatory injunction was that the application was made on a wrong order as he took the view that it should have been made pursuant to Order 14 A of the rules of the court.
He stated that the appellants were at liberty to invoke other procedures and made no order as to costs.