On 10 May 2000, Minister of Information Newstead Zimba warned of unspecified action against radio stations labelled as “political”. He told the Zambia Independent Media Association (ZIMA) that “I am going to take action against them.”
Zimbaâs remarks followed efforts by ZIMA to get him to clarify remarks attributed to him in the state-owned “Times of Zambia” newspaper on 9 May, saying that some radio stations had become political and departed from what was outlined in their original operating licences. He reportedly said this when he met a delegation from Radio Christian Voice who were seeking government support for their expansion programme and an extension of their broadcasting licence.
“Some radio stations have become too political. Christian Voice has not fallen prey to the line of destruction. You have continued to preach the messages of Christianity… Even the President is very happy you have continued to preach, entertain and inform the people. Government will definitely consider your application,” the “Times” quoted Zimba as saying.
But when asked by ZIMA to clarify the newspaper report, he said the licence conditions were clearly spelt out and he was presently reviewing a number of files. He refused to explain anything saying, “I donât have to explain anything to you.” He then slammed the receiver down. Efforts by ZIMA to seek an audience with him have failed, as he was reportedly “rushing for a meeting”.
ZIMA chairman David Simpson commented that the terms of radio licence agreements were too restrictive. “It should not be necessary in a democracy to limit the hours of news bulletins and the freedom to include political material,” he said. “This is why we want to see an Independent Broadcasting Authority in place at the earliest possible time.”
This article was originally published on Minister warns of legal actions against “political” radio stations