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Zambia public broadcaster forced to televise Junior
Africa Soccer tournament after public outcry 

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia’s public broadcaster was on Wednesday forced to start providing live coverage of the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) currently underway in the country after public outcry.

On Tuesday, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) announced that it was unable to broadcast the games because it owes the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 750,000 U.S. dollars for the 2015 Senior Africa Cup of Nations tournament which it showed and has been told to pay 400,000 British Pounds to broadcast the on-going tournament.

Masuzyo Ndhlovu, the broadcaster’s corporate affairs manager said the corporation could not televise the games because of the high fees involved and that it has not been granted the broadcasting rights because of the unsettled debt.

But the announcement unnerved soccer-crazy fans who took to social media to denounce the public broadcaster and asked the government to rescue it so that it could televise the games.

The public broadcaster has since rescinded the decision and announced that it will broadcast live the remaining games after negotiating with the rights holders.

Peter Shula, the broadcaster’s director of sales said the rights holders have reconsidered an appeal from the broadcaster and the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and allowed the remainder of the games to be televised.

He said during a press briefing that televising the games will give an opportunity to over 6 million viewers to follow the games.

Earlier, soccer fans took a swipe at the public broadcaster over its failure to televise the games.

According to some of the comments on social media, the soccer fans wondered why the public broadcaster could fail to show the games when it collects television levy each month from every Zambian who owns a television set and when the country was hosting the event.

“Okay this is shameful...hosting such a big tournament and the national broadcaster fails to televise it,” Jollity Mudenda said in a Facebook posting.

Mapenzi Siamatendu in his Facebook posting appealed to all Zambians to boycott paying the television levy, saying it was evident that the public broadcaster was after robbing innocent citizens.

“I am appealing to all Zambians to stop paying TV levy, this is pure robbing the innocent Zambian people, how can they fail to broadcast the AFCON,” he said.

Others however said they were not surprised by the public broadcaster’s decision, saying it was known for incompetence and poor management.

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the main opposition party, the United Party for National Development said the failure to televise the games was putting the country on the international spotlight, a move that may force the country not to be given rights to host future events.

“This failure is not only detrimental but also a day light robbery on Zambians who have been paying tax in form of TV levy every month. We demand on behalf of the country that with immediate effect the government pays for the live transmission of the games because citizens have been compliant and if ZNBC does not televise the games live, they must stop collecting TV levy as it is tantamount to theft,” he said in a statement.

The tournament started on Sunday, with Zambia beating Guinea 1-0 in the first Group A match while Egypt and Mali settled for a draw, during games played at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, the country’s capital.

In Group B matches which are being played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola city on the Copperbelt province, Senegal and Sudan settled for a 1-1 draw while South Africa beat Cameroon 3-1.



Zambia signs deal with global mobile operators’ body to foster cyber security

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the GSMA, a trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators, to foster cyber security and child online protection in the southern African nation.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding was key to the safe use of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) as it has been noted that children as young as five years were Internet users who require protection from bad vices they may be exposed to while online.

The signing ceremony took place on the sidelines of the ongoing GMSA Mobile World Congress 2017 in Spain.

Ministry of Transport and Communication Permanent Secretary Misheck Lungu and director-general of the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) Margaret Chalwe-Mudenda signed on behalf of Zambia while GSMA head of sub-Sahara Government and Regulatory Affairs Ankinwale Goodluck signed on behalf of the organization, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Transport and Communication.

The Zambian government is expected to launch a Child Online Protection Strategy in the second quarter of this year.

The strategy will lead to the implementation of measures that will ensure that service providers and equipment manufacturers trading on the Zambia market provide protection for child use of ICTs, the statement added.

Last month, the information and technology regulator said it had almost finalized the development of an online platform meant for reporting Internet-related child abuse.


Zambian president visits Israel over economic, diplomatic ties

LUSAKA  Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu is paying a five-day official visit to Israel aimed at cementing bilateral economic and diplomatic ties.

President Lungu held talks with his Israel counterpart Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem, according to state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

The Zambian leader said his administration was looking forward to working with Israel in many spheres.

He went on to state that Zambia was looking forward to the amicable solution over the security challenges in Israel and that his government would dialogue with the warring parties to find a win-win situation.

Zambia, he said, draws inspiration from Israel, hence the need to ensure order in the Jewish nation as it also plays a key role in the global economy.

On his part, the Israel president extolled the warm relations that have existed between the two countries, adding that Israel had a warm feeling towards Zambians as the country was among the first in Africa to receive Jews when they were hunted down during the Second World War.

Lungu is in Israel to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties after the southern African nation established its first-ever embassy in that country two years ago.

While in Israel, Lungu will officiate at a business forum organized by the business community of the two countries.



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