The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says lack of action on cadres that are bent on harassing journalists has led to some members of the public to emulate them in harassing journalists.
MISA Zambia Chapter Chairperson Henry Kabwe says it is sad that the violence against journalists in the country by some political party cadres is being emulated by some members of the public.
Mr. Kabwe’s sentiments come in the wake of reports that on Wednesday, this week, relatives of the former Human Resource Officer in the Ministry of Health Henry Kapoko harassed journalists who had gone to cover his case at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court complex.
He called for decisive steps to be taken against the cadres in order to put an end to the harassment of journalists by cadres as other members of the general public might to be inclined to emulate the actions of the cadres.
Mr. Kabwe urged both the ruling and opposition political party leadership to order their cadres to stop the violence and harassment of journalists.
“We are calling upon presidents of both the ruling and opposition parties to ensure that they order party cadres of their respective political parties to stop violence against journalists. We are also urging them to make responsible statements that can not spark violence,” Mr. Kabwe stated.
He told ZANIS in Lusaka today that MISA is concerned that grievances against journalists have not been dealt with promptly and conclusively.
Mr. Kabwe further noted that it is unfortunate that the harassment of journalists in the country is beginning to attract regional and international attention.
The Post has since written to SADC requesting the regional bloc to intervene in the harassment of its journalists.
And the MISA Chairperson has accused cadres from a named political party of having created an impression that journalists in the country discharge their duties unprofessionally.
He said journalists in the country have always striven to discharge their duties professionally amid a working environment which has at times not been conducive.
Mr. Kabwe said there is need for politicians and other stakeholders in the country to support existing media institutions.
He however, also urged media institutions in the country to unite and support one another in order to win public confidence.
“We are urging journalists to support their colleagues that are being harassed and not detach themselves. The media must streamline their operations and work towards getting public confidence,” he said.
Of late some journalists have been physically harassed and expelled from meetings where public officers had been officiating.