In a week of largely bad news, this is something worth looking forward to :
Not just in terms of the volume of new radio stations but also the idea that the IBA may finally become operational. We may of course be tempted at this point to suggest that many of these radio stations perhaps are driven by the party in government ahead of 2011! Its certainly not like government to allow so much change at one time! But from the story we have no reason to think so, and perhaps a more accurate reading is that this should be seen within the broader context of an irreversible trend that we have previously touched on here and here. I quite excited about partly also because of the link to the internet. As people find a voice they will demand other mediums as well.Government says it has received 110 application for new radio stations and 10 for private television stations. Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha says the government is waiting for the Independence Broadcasting Act (IBA) to be passed in parliament and the appointment of the board to start processing the applications and subsequently issue the licenses. Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that the processing and issuance of licenses will be done as soon as the IBA is taken to parliament in the next sitting.
He said of the ten Television stations that have applied, five have applied for Christians broadcasting stations and want them established in Lusaka and the Copperbelt Provinces. The Minister has also disclosed that three pay television providers similar to MultiChoice have also applied for the licenses. Lt. Gen Shikapwasha further said other parts of the country such as Eastern and Western Provinces, which were previously shunned have also received overwhelming response for the establishment of the stations. He said 10 applications have been received from Chipata alone and commended the private sector and the community for the good response. Lt. Gen. said this has been realized with support from PANOS, UNICEF and other donor agencies.