Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chisamba Kambwili says no journalist in Zambia should be harassed on account of performing his or her duties.
Mr Kambwili who is also Chief Government Spokesperson has also warned that he will not condone the harassment of journalists by political cadres whether from the Patriotic Front (PF) or opposition.
Mr Kambwili was speaking at the Freedom Statue in Lusaka yesterday when he graced the 2015 World Press Freedom Day commemorations.
This was after Zambian Journalists joined their colleagues world wide to celebrate World Press Freedom Day which falls on May 3.
In Lusaka, the celebrations started with a match past from Lusaka Main Post Office to the Freedom Statute.
The 2015 local theme is dubbed, “Gender Equality and Media Safety in the Digital Age.”
“I’ll not condone the harassment of journalist by political cadres whether in PF or those from the opposition. However, you Journalists should be responsible and adhere to your reporting ethics,” said Mr. Kambwili.
Mr. Kambwili, condemned the attitude of some political cadres who are in the habit of beating up journalists that were merely performing a national duty.
The Minister is however disappointed that some media houses have opted to abuse their freedoms by pursuing private agendas which he said are un-ethical, un-professional and borders on criminality.
He advised the scribes to utilize the social media to fight ills such as gender based violence, child defilement and other gender related vices.
The minister reaffirmed government’s commitment to introducing the Access to Information Bill (AIB) this year when parliament sits next month (June).
Mr. Kambwili is happy that the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is fully operational in over-seeing the growth of a free and professional broadcasting industry.
On digital migration, the Information Minister assured that both digital and analogue television formats would continue to operate side by side after June 17, 2015 to the time when the television broadcasting industry will be digitalized.
“Zambia won’t experience a television blackout after the June 17th ITU deadline,” Mr. Kambwili said.
World Press Freedom Day 2015 Organizing Committee Chairperson Enock Ngoma bemoaned the poor salaries offered to scribes in some private media houses.
Mr. Ngoma said some Journalists were getting low salaries as low as K500 yet they are faced with a lot of challenges like transport.
He bemoaned that government was allegedly dragging on enacting the AIB because it is now 13 years hence the out-cry by members of the fourth estate.
Journalists the world over observe May 3 to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; evaluate press freedom , defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives while on duty.
The international day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.
This was in response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.