17 May 2014

Zambia: State Launches Digital Migration Policy

GOVERNMENT has launched the digital migration policy to help scale up the implementation process and ensure a people-driven migration agenda.

Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Joseph Katema also called for an all-inclusive participation by stakeholders to ensure success in the implementation of the digital migration.

Dr Katema expressed confidence that Zambia would migrate before the June 17, 2015 deadline set by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and shift from analogue to digital television broadcasting.

"With input and support from all stakeholders, as evidenced by this gathering here today, Government is confident that Zambia will successfully migrate on, or before the set deadline," Dr Katema said.

He said digital migration was important because under the current analogue terrestrial television, one frequency carried one programme channel, whereas Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) used one frequency to carry multiple programme channels thereby allowing for transmission of many television programmes using fewer frequencies and lower cost.

Dr Katema was speaking in a speech read for him by Information and Broadcasting Services deputy Minister, Poniso Njeulu at the launch of the digital migration policy at new Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday.

Dr Katema said the purpose of the policy is to ensure that migration from analogue to digital benefits the people and leads to more services and broader coverage.

"The policy provides guidelines on the national technical standards for transmission and compression, market structure and licensing framework, content service provision and signal distribution," he said.

He directed the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) to put in place standards and regulations to facilitate the smooth transition from analogue to digital and on how best the media and production houses could work together.

IBA director general Josephine Mapoma thanked the Government for launching the policy.

"Anxiety on digital migration has gripped the public as little is known about it. The launch marks a vigorous public awareness campaign on digital migration and therefore I congratulate the government for the launch," she said.

Meanwhile, Government has urged media practitioners in the country to strive to stick to the truth in their reporting because it was only the truth that would guarantee them freedom and protection.

Mr Njeulu said Government supported freedom of Information and not freedom of misinformation.

Mr Njeulu was speaking at a one-day media stakeholder's conference as part of the activities to commemorate the 2014 World Press Freedom Day

at Mulungushi International Conference Centre yesterday.

The meeting was attended by some members of the civil society, political parties, veteran journalists and other members of the journalism fraternity.

He said media houses and practitioners that would like to thrive on lies and malicious gossip would be known for what were as liars, and people would shun their news apart from being sued by those offended.

"So l urge media practitioners in the country to stick to the truth in their reporting because it is only the truth that will guarantee them freedom," he said.

Mr Njeulu reaffirmed Government's determination to enacting the Access to Information Bill.

He said the ATI Bill process was currently underway and Government was doing everything possible to ensure it was a reality.

Earlier World Press Freedom Day national organising chairperson Henry Kabwe called for the upholding of the freedom of the press in Zambia.

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