Zambia: Government Suspends Three Broadcasters Post-Election
In response to Zambia’s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) suspending the licenses of a television broadcaster and two radio stations shortly after contested elections, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The Zambian government is censoring independent broadcasters in violation of international standards of press freedom,” said Lynn Fredriksson, director for Southern Africa programs. “The fact that the re-election of President Lungu has been challenged is all the more reason to guarantee the right of media to report freely.”
On August 11, Zambia held local, regional, and national elections, as well as a referendum on its Bill of Rights. President Lungu was declared the victor over the United Party for National Development (UPND) opposition candidate Hakinde Hichelema by a narrow margin. Contesting the official results, Hichelema claims that the ruling Patriotic Front rigged the vote.
On August 22, the IBA announced its suspension of the licenses for Muvi TV, the country’s most popular television station, and the radio stations Komboni Radio and Radio Itezhi Tezhi, for alleged “unprofessional conduct” in their election coverage, accusing them of posing a risk to peace and stability.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.