Media plurality, diversity cheer Lungu

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PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu is proud that the media in Zambia is plural, free and diverse.

He enumerated his government’s continued successes in ensuring a well-informed citizenry, “which is a fundamental pre-requisite for deepening our governance and development.”

President Lungu boasted of an ever-expanding media environment in Zambia.

He made the remarks to mark the ceremonial opening of Parliament on Friday.

The Head of State talked about the increasing number of radio stations and TV stations in the country.

He also pointed at the thriving film industry as another positive in the media, under his auspices.

The President only ‘forgot’ or neglected to talk about newspapers – their successes and failures.

“Currently, the number of radio stations in operation countrywide has increased from 88 in 2016 to 126 this year,” President Lungu said.

“Similarly, the country has seen a steady progression in the number of television stations established and operational countrywide. We now have 39 television stations compared to only 19 in 2016.”

He noted, “with pride,” that Zambia is among the first countries in Africa to fully and successfully migrate to digital television broadcasting services from the analogue terrestrial television broadcasting platform.

President Lungu explained that last year, the government commissioned the remaining eight digital transmitters and that now all the 73 digital transmission sites for television broadcasting across the country were fully operational.

The President said that meant that all parts of Zambia were now able to access the television signal.

“Zambia’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television transmission has been a worthwhile venture as it has opened up the broadcasting industry,” he said.

“Our people can now own television stations, thereby creating jobs and wealth. Furthermore, the six new provincial television studios in Eastern, Western, Luapula, Muchinga, Central and Northern provinces have been completed and are due to be handed over to government once equipment is installed.”

President Lungu added that it is his government’s resolve that all 10 provinces should have provincial television studios to take information closer to the people.

“These are commendable strides by any stretch of imagination. The challenge is now up to our people, especially the youth, to create content that is relevant to the needs of our country and to ensure that our television programmes are of high quality,” he said.

“Quality programmes will give us a greater footprint on the global stage. We want our country to create better paying jobs in this industry.”

Meanwhile, the President noted that while he was delighted that the film industry is now booming in Zambia, with motley films even on international channels.

“I hope more young people will enter this career once the studios are operational,” said President Lungu.

“It is my government’s resolve that the media should operate independently. To this end, I am proud that the media in this country is plural, free and diverse.”

©Kalemba September 12, 2020

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