Zambia: Suspension of independent news station a ploy to muzzle independent voices

In response to the announcement today that the independent broadcaster Prime TV will be suspended for 30 days, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa said:

The suspension of Prime TV is a ploy to muzzle independent voices in Zambia and to undermine the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa

“The suspension of Prime TV is a ploy to muzzle independent voices in Zambia and to undermine the right to freedom of expression and media freedom. It is clearly intended to send a chilling message that journalists need to self-censor or face dire consequences. 

This unlawful suspension must be immediately lifted to allow Prime TV to continue telling the Zambian story as it unfolds. Zambia can only benefit from the plurality of media voices
Deprose Muchena

“This unlawful suspension must be immediately lifted to allow Prime TV to continue telling the Zambian story as it unfolds. Zambia can only benefit from the plurality of media voices.”

Background 

The Independent Broadcasting Authority informed Prime TV of its suspension for 30 days earlier today, citing failure to comply with the conditions of its broadcasting license by the station.

Media freedom has been under attack in Zambia in recent years. In 2016, authorities sanctioned the closure of the The Post newspaper, one of the country’s longest serving independent newspapers. Its owner, Fred M’embe, and news editor, Joseph Mwenda, had been previously brutalized by the police for the newspaper’s critical reporting.