OFFICERS from the Ministry of Information and Media and affiliate statutory bodies, have commenced a retreat to work on a layman’s Bill to repeal and replace the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act.

Information and Media Permanent Secretary Kennedy Kalunga said the activity was a continuation of a process that was commenced towards the end of 2020.

Mr. Kalunga said in 2020, the current IBA Act was circulated to stakeholders countrywide for them to guide the Ministry on what needed to be changed in the Act and stakeholders who sent in written submissions were invited to a meeting in February 2021 to speak to their submissions.

“The next stage, after the meeting, was for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (as it was called then) to consolidate the resolutions of the meeting and prepare a layman’s draft Bill. The new administration picked up the process from that stage and the meeting being referred to is preparing a layman’s draft Bill and will guide on the way forward, Mr. Kalunga said.

He said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that the process of repealing and replacing the IBA Act was not immediately embarked on by the new administration because it was anticipated that media operators would come up with a statutory self-regulatory mechanism to take over some of the functions of the IBA.

This, he said did not happen, as media operators decided to go for a voluntary self-regulatory mechanism and leave the existing laws in their current form.

“Civil society organizations have raised concern that there is lack of inclusion and consultation of independent media houses and practitioners, in the activity [currently] taking place in Chongwe District. I wish to state that the activity in question is an in-house activity being undertaken by selected departments and statutory bodies falling under the Ministry of Information and Media,” he added.

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