Executive Summary

The State of the Media Report is a quarterly assessment of the media environment in Zambia.
This edition covers the fourth quarter of 2021 i.e. October-December. This assessment and
record describe the media trends in Zambia during the period and was prepared under the
auspices of the MISA Zambia Chapter.
This report includes a number of interesting occurrences that added new developments, twists
and opportunities alike for the overall media environment in Zambia.
The socio-political environment in the quarter posted similar trends to those observed in the
third quarter, while certain aspects noted in the preceding quarters indicate a continuation in
social-political activities with the potential to affect the media landscape. Two incidents of
violence (at Mpika FM and Walamo Radio) were noted in the quarter. The incidents are
reminiscent of those recorded in all the quarters of the year, with similar modus operandi. The
COVID-19 pandemic equally continued in the quarter under review and, as such, its effects
threatened the operations of the media, though less severe.
The legal environment posted a positive development in the presentation of the draft ZAMEC
Bill by the Technical Working Group on Media Self-Regulation, a move that is hoped to
culminate into the enactment of a law to regulate and enforce media standards. On a negative
note, however, the quarter under review marked another year without the enactment of the ATI
Bill, while the government promised to prioritise enactment of the Bill in 2022.
On the economic front, there was the favourable performance of most economic variables such
as the currency exchange rates, year-on-year inflation, interest rates, business opportunities and
absence of electricity load management. These factors alleviated the cost of operation for media
houses with a possible increase in advertising from companies that recorded new business
opportunities and increased consumer demand. Meanwhile, the increase in the fuel pump prices
and migration of the ERB to monthly adjustment of prices in line with prevailing market
conditions could create a volatile situation as media houses may not effectively predict costs.
During the quarter, the government announced the introduction of standard taxation on
newspapers as part of the 2022 budget, presenting a threat for the coming year as the cost of
operating a print media outlet could increase, with a ripple effect on the consumers.
The technological environment was relatively neutral and calm as there were no actions,
promulgation of laws and policies that were inimical to digital rights. Likewise, there were no
significant positive developments for the enhancement of the freedom of expression online.

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