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Ruling party official orders station to stop running opposition political adverts, threatens to revoke license

(MISA/IFEX) - On 20 October 2008, James Kapita, provincial chairperson of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), instructed the Solwezi FCC radio station programme manager to stop running political adverts for opposition parties and threatened to revoke the radio station's license once the ruling party won the presidential by-election.

In a statement dated 21 October 2008 emailed to MISA-Zambia and later in a telephone interview on 27 October 2008, station manager John Kamwanga said that James Katoka Kapita called the radio station claiming that he had received instructions from the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mike Mulongoti, not to allow any political advertisements and programmes on the community radio station.

Kamwanga said that Kapita then started issuing threats when he was asked to produce a letter from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to back his claims.

Kamwanga said that although MMD officials had been to the station twice to collect quotations for political adverts, the party had not returned to place such adverts on the station.

"The facts of the matter are that on 16 October 2008, Honorable Benny Teatamashimba collected a quotation for a one-hour programme and on the 11th of the same month, an MMD official came to the studio and collected a quotation for an advert, but since then they have not come back to us," he said.

The radio station is based in Solwezi, the provincial headquarters of the northwestern province of Zambia.

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