Journalists from different media houses and media institutions in Lusaka yesterday held a peaceful demonstration against the continued harassment and intimidation by sections of society.
The Journalists who displayed placards and banners with messages,”abashi intimidation, Save the media, Journalists need respect among others, unsettled security personnel in their attempt to calm and sympathise with the journalists.
This was during a petition presented to government over the continued harassment of journalists by political party cadres.
Presenting the petition, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Chairperson Henry Kabwe condemned harassment and violence against the journalists saying that the harassment should not be tolerated it is capable of becoming uncontrollable.
Mr. Kabwe demanded protection of journalists from the police because journalists are merely doing a noble cause.
He expressed hope that government will comprehensively study the petition effectively and in a conducive manner for the good of this country as far as information dissemination is concerned.
In response, Vice President George Kunda said the media is exemplary executing its duties diligently to informa the public but sounded that some articles issued by the media are provocative.
Mr Kunda reiterated government’s commitment to addressing hooliganism against media personnel in the country.
He said government is equally disturbed about the continued harassment of journalists by political party cadres saying government condemns all forms of violence and harassment of media personnel.
Vice President Kunda said there is need for journalists to work in harmony in the interest of developing the nation and media growth.
MISA (Z) members, Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) members, Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) members, Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) members and Post Press Freedom Committee Chairperson Webster Malido were among the people who attended the petition presentation protest ceremony.
Others who attended are Journalists from the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS), Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia, Mobi Television, Muvi Television, Yatsani Radio, Radio Phoenix, Qfm Radio among other public and private media institutions.
Information and Broadcasting Services Minister and Chief Government Spokesperson Lieutenant General Shikapwasha, Home Affairs Minister Lameck Mangani, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice President David Sampa and senior government officials are some of the officials who witnessed the petition presentation ceremony.
On August 6, 2009, a Lusaka Magistrate Court granted an MMD cadre K3 million bail for harassing and assaulting a Post Journalist Chibaula David Silwamba and Times of Zambia senior reporter Anthony Mulowa.
Lusaka Magistrate David Simusamba slapped a K3 million bail on MMD Lusaka Province Youth Chairman Chris Chalwe for assault.
Chalwe, 42 on another count is accused of having assaulted the duo who are journalists.
Facts before the Court are that Chalwe on July 29 did assault the two Journalists causing occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to Section 248 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
The court adjourned the matter and it comes up in court on August 18 for mention while trial is expected to commence on August 28, 2009.