The Media Institute of Southern Africa Misa Zambia Chapter has demanded immediate lifting of licence suspensions slapped on Muvi TV, Komboni and Itezhi Tezhi Radio stations.
Chairperson Hellen Mwale says that the three broadcasting stations should be allowed to operate while their appeals are being heard.
Misa’s demand follows a meeting, which the media body held with IBA, Independent Broadcasting Authority Board Chairperson, Brigadier General Justin Mutale and management of the authority yesterday.
Ms. Mwale told Breeze News in a statement that Misa has further demanded that the date for the hearing be brought forward to allow for a speedy and amicable resolution of the matter without necessarily denying the citizens access to information and dissemination of alternative views.
She says that it has been agreed that the IBA engages the Inspector-General of Police to immediately withdraw the Police officers that have been deployed at the broadcasting stations.
Ms. Mwale says the presence of police officers is restricting access and disrupting operations in the stations.
She says that the suspension of licenses for the three stations is extreme and has a negative effect on the flow of information as well as a chilling effect on the practice of journalism as it amounts to arbitrary censorship of dissenting views.
Ms. Mwale says that it is worrying that there seems to be a trend in which private media houses seen to carry dissenting views have been targeted and persecuted using various laws and processes.
And Ms. Mwale says MISA has alerted regional and international agencies and the diplomatic corps over the deterioration of media freedom in Zambia.