Friday, 4 March 2011


By Globe Reporter
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chairperson Daniel Sikazwe has asked Information minister Lt. Gen. Ronnie Shikapwasha to exercise maximum restraint in his intentions to revoke the operating license of Radio Lyambai, a privately owned, community-based radio station in Mongu, which was linked to the February 14, 2011 riots in Western Province over the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
Sikazwe said MISA Zambia was worried by indications that government, through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, appeared set to cancel the operating license of Radio Lyambai.
He urged Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha to engage Radio Lyambai and MISA Zambia in finding an amicable solution to the problem, which led to the closure of the station.
Sikazwe said MISA’s appeal for maximum restraint from Gen. Shikapwasha was based on the fact that Radio Lyambai did not incite violence or fuel the disturbances that took place in Mongu.
“The board of Radio Lyambai is ready and willing to engage with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in order to chart an amicable way towards the re-opening of the station. MISA Zambia is in the process of undertaking training to build the capacity of Radio Lyambai staff to play a key role in peace building and conflict resolution in the province,” said Sikazwe.
He said the closure of Radio Lyambai would result in 20 people of various ages, but mostly the youth, becoming jobless, which goes against government’s desire to promote employment creation and increased tax collection from businesses.
“The closure of the station, which is wholly owned by Zambians will negate efforts to encourage local businessmen and women to invest in various ventures, including the media,” added Sikazwe. “The people of Mongu and surrounding areas will be the hardest hit by the closure of the radio station as they will no longer access vital information, required to accelerate development and improve livelihoods, given that Radio Lyambai plays a vital role in promoting good governance, gender equity and the fight against HIV and AIDS through its programmes.”
Sikazwe noted that Radio Lyambai had created a platform for citizens’ participation in development and governance.
He observed that people in Western Province had used the radio station as a medium for free expression and that its closure would not only weaken development in the area, but also roll back the clock on the promotion of freedom of speech and democracy.
“MISA Zambia remains committed to the promotion of a free media environment in which there are no legal impediments, harassment or violations of the rights of media workers and institutions, and we see government as a key partner in this endeavour,” said Sikazwe. “However, MISA Zambia also recognizes that the rights of the media are not at the expense of the rights of other people and institutions, and as such we are equally committed to the promotion of a media that is ethical, responsible and responsive.

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