The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation amendment ACT No.16 of 2010 and it's impact on the standing of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation as a Public Broadcaster
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The revised statute, Section (3) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 2010, abolishes the 'Appointments Committee' thereby, effectively assigning the responsibility of appointing members of the ZNBC Board to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services subject to ratification by the National Assembly. The original intention of the government was to transform the ZNBC into a public service broadcaster, accountable to the public through the legislature rather than the government' and 'governed by a Board which is protected against interference, particularly of a political or economic nature. This was done through Section 4(2) of the ZNBC (Amendment) Act No. 20 of 2002 which provided for appointment of Board Members through an Adhoc Appointments Committee comprising members from various sectors of society. It is not debatable, in the light of the history of the ZNBC, that "a change of government entails a change in the Board of Directors of the ZNBC."' However, it must be noted that it is a requirement for a Public Broadcaster that the "process of appointing members should be set out clearly in law, be open, democratic, should not be dominated by any particular political party or commercial interest and should allow for public participation and consultation.Overall, membership should be required to be reasonably representative of society as a whole." Thus, legislation which provides for the appointment of members of the ZNBC Board by the Minister in charge of broadcasting is not open or democratic and can be said to be dominated by a particular political party.The process further does not allow for public participation or a consultation system as provided under Section 4(2) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Act of 2002. This places in jeopardy all the efforts by Board members and staff to manage the institution professionally for the benefit of the nation. For instance, with regard to coverage of elections, the Board does not remain non-partisan. This study analysed Section (3) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 2010 and its implications on the standing of the ZNBC as a Public Broadcaster. It examined the characteristics of a Public Broadcaster against the implications arising out of Section (3) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 2010. It revealed that Section (3) of the ZNBC Corporation (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 2010, will not enhance but shall inhibit the process of transformation of the ZNBC from a State to a Public Broadcaster. The amendment, does not insulate the ZNBC Board against political and economic interference as well as providing a guarantee of editorial independence, contrary to the original intention to transform the ZNBC into a public service broadcaster, accountable to the public through the legislature rather than the executive wing of government and governed by a Board which is protected against interference of any kind including that of a political or economic nature.
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