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Harassment of community radio in Zambia; getting worse?

Radio Rights WatchLast time we checked in on the community radio scene in Zambia, government officials were thwarted in their bid to dissolve the board of a local signal in that country’s Mkushi district. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have discouraged various law enforcement functionaries from mucking around with other community radio operations. The Panos Institute of Southern Africa charges that Zambian officials have tried to block radio shows at stations in Chipata, Petauke, Kasama, Mpika, Mkushi, and Siavonga.

“Just this week, police officers in Isoka stopped a paid for live political discussion programme on Isoka FM featuring Democratic Front President Miles Sampa,” the Institute reports, “who is also the leader of the Orange Alliance.”

Here’s some more of the Institute’s statement on the alleged harassment: 

“Overzealous and ill formed provincial and district administration officers in partnership with the local police have on many occasions crossed their legal boundary and disturbed community radio operations in their districts.

This trend needs to be stopped. Community radio stations like any other registered media businesses and entities are mandated by law to perform their professional duties unhindered and within media space as enshrined in the Zambian constitution.”

Zambia map

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