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Authorities threaten to revoke radio station's licence

(MISA/IFEX) - On 21 November 2010, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS) Permanent Secretary, Dr. Sam Phiri, threatened to revoke Radio Lyambai's broadcasting license due to allegations that the station was intending to host an opposition political party leader, Michael Sata, to discuss a controversial issue surrounding the Barotseland Agreement (BA) of 1964.

In an interview with MISA-Zambia, Radio Lyambai's station manager, Mukeya Liwena, said that the threat was baseless as his station had no intention to run such a programme. Radio Lyambai is based in Mongu in the Western province of Zambia, which is home to some advocates of the Barotseland Agreement.

Liwena stated that since 2007, his station had also been banned from broadcasting live phone-in radio programmes.


Background:

According to the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the Lozi people were accorded certain rights. Since Zambia's independence in 1964, the land and its people have been part of the country, but advocates of the Barotseland Agreement feel that they have been treated unfairly. On 23 October 2010, a day before the anniversary of Zambia's independence, an unknown group calling itself the Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) organised a protest to raise awareness about the need to restore the 1964 Barotseland Agreement. However, the police took quick action and dispersed the protestors who had gathered in the morning. The police said the gathering was illegal. The police action resulted into a riot in which two people were critically injured.

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