State To Float 45% PUBLIC MEDIA Shares

VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott says Government will soon offload 45 percent shares in the government-owned media institutions to the public.
Dr Scott said discussions are under way to offload 45 percent shares in the three public media institutions to help make them operate independently without any political interference from the ruling party and the government.
He said this in Parliament yesterday when responding to a question from Itezhi Tezhi United Party for National Development (UPND) member of Parliament (MP) Greyford Monde during the Vice-President’s Question Time.
Mr Monde wanted to know how far Government has gone with the privatisation of the Zambia Daily Mail Limited and TimesPrintpak Zambia Limited.
Dr Scott said measures are under way to reposition the three public media houses to make them operate as truly public media institutions.
He said the measures the Patriotic Front (PF) government is undertaking will help ensure the Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) are no longer monopolies of the ruling government.
“Discussions are underway to free the public media institutions from political interference of the ruling government so that they can inform, entertain and educate the public ethically and professionally.
“It is for this reason our government intends to offload 45 percent shares in these public media institutions so that they can be working independently,” he said.
Dr Scott said once this is done, Zambians will have freedom of expression through the public media, unlike in the past when people were not given a platform to express themselves on many national issues.
He said the PF government will remain committed to ensuring that journalists in the public media operate professionally without any interference from Government.
And the Media Liaison’s Committee (MLC) has welcomed Government’s plans to offload 45 percent shares in the three media institutions to the public.
MLC spokesperson Simon Mwila said the measure will help improve professionalism in the public media institutions as well as contribute effectively to the growth of the media industry in the country.
“We want to welcome the move that the PF government is intending to undertake to offload 45 percent shares in the three public media institutions. This will improve professionalism as well as allow these institutions to start operating as public media institutions.
“We also want to urge Government to consult the public media institutions before this process is concluded,” Mr Mwila said.
He urged Government to protect the jobs of workers at the three public media institutions after offloading 45 percent shares to private investors.