Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is a state-owned conglomerate that owns, among many companies in a myriad of industries, the newspapers Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia (TimesPrintPak). IDC has investments in sectors including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, financial services, mining, energy, telecommunications, logistics, medical services, education, tourism, real estate and media.

Media assets

Publishing: Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia

State Media Matrix Typology: Captured Public/State-Managed (CaPu)

Ownership and governance

The board of government-owned IDC appoints the boards of Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia (TimesPrintPak) as well as the Managing Director and editorial structures. The state president chairs the IDC board.

IDC was incorporated in January 2014 and is wholly owned by the Zambian government through the ministry of finance. IDC falls into the category of investment holding company for State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). In terms of their editorial operation, Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia are accountable to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, which as of September 2021 has been known as the Ministry of Information and Media.

The Zambian government intends to establish a consolidated media and newspaper company under IDC already in charge of the two newspapers. In January 2022, the management of the two newspapers announced plans to go ahead with a merger plan. No further news about the plan has been released to date.

Source of funding and budget

The newspapers owned by IDC generate most of their budget from commercial revenues. In 2016, according to the latest available annual report from the company, The Daily Mail generated revenues of ZMW 84.6m (US$ 3.8m) and Times of Zambia a total of ZMW 45.7m (US$ 2m). The two publications have since failed to report financial data.

Editorial independence

There are no explicit rules requiring Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia to adopt a pro-government editorial policy. Nevertheless, through the appointment of their management, the government has full control over the editorial coverage of the two newspapers, which is biased towards the government and the ruling party, according to local journalists and experts, as well as ad hoc content analysis.

IDC often dismisses the boards of the two newspapers without any clear reasons.

No statue and no oversight or assessment mechanism to validate the editorial independence of IDC’s newspapers have been identified.

October 2023