JANUARY 10, 2008
Posted January 18, 2008
The Ministry of Information has extended a ban on call-in programs at Radio Lyambai in the western province of Mongu. On November 30, 2007, the ministry’s director of press and planning, Juliana Mwila, sent a letter to the station banning its call-in programs and calling them “a platform for confrontation, controversies, and a channel of insults and misinformation.” The ministry sent another letter to the station in January 2008 stating that the ban will continue indefinitely, according to the station’s deputy manager, Muyumbana Nyambe.
Nyambe told CPJ that the government banned the call-in program to end public criticism of an influential local chief . Traditional leaders such as chiefs still play a central role in governing the western provinces of Zambia, local journalists reported. The station and local residents of Mongu have protested the government ban, and station officials fear the government will refuse to renew Radio Lyambai’s annual broadcasting license, Nyambe said.