President Edgar Lungu says he is thinking twice about enacting the Freedom of Information Bill because of the way information is being mishandled by the media.
Mr Lungu was speaking upon arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka this morning from Livingstone where he hosted the African Union (AU) Committee of Ten Heads of State Summit on the United Nations (UN) Reforms.
Speaking to journalists, President Lungu said media practitioners are professionals who should be able to analyse and evaluate the information that they receive from their informers.
The President said the allegation that government is hiding a US$192 million loan from China for security purposes is false.
Mr Lungu said the leaking of information is a security issue which has already been handled further stating that those found wanting would be dealt accordingly with one by one.
He said secrecy should prevail because it will be irresponsible of him to be sharing top class information to the public.
‘It is sad that information is circulating. we are not hiding any money. That is why am even thinking twice about enacting the freedom of information bill,” he said.
President Lungu was received at the KKIA by Vice President Inonge Wina.
Others who received the President were senior government and Patriotic Front (PF) Party officials who included Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila, State House deputy Minister Mulenga Sata and Defence Chiefs among others.
And Chief government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili says government is deeply concerned with the continued irresponsible misrepresentation of facts by the Post newspaper that threaten national security.
Mr. Kambwili who was reacting to yesterday’s Post newspaper lead story alleging that Government has hidden a $192 million loan obtained from China said the statement was not only misleading but an attempt to make the public think that government was hiding something.
Speaking during a press briefing at his residence in Luanshya yesterday, Mr. Kambwili who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services noted that the issue was of national security and therefore was not for public discussion.
He noted that it was irresponsible of the Post newspaper to disclose the matter knowing that it was of national security adding that even the access to information bill clearly stipulated that it was not all information that should be disclosed to the press or public.
Mr. Kambwili said the Patriotic Front party when it formed government declared that it would make public every matter discussed by Cabinet but that did not include matters of national security.
“Even if government sat and discussed this loan, there was no way it would have brought this matter to the general public because the issues contained therein are issues of a high security nature” , he said.
He has with immediate effect directed the Police to take keen interest in the matter and bring the culprits to book, and further warned civil servant leaking sensitive information to the public that government would soon catch up with them.
The Chief government spokesperson also observed that such irresponsible conduct by media houses was the reason why successive governments did not enact the access to information bill.
Mr. Kambwili further appealed to the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) which he said was now toothless to play its role in regulating the print media.
He noted that the media was slowly losing its ethical standards in their reporting and that government would be forced to regulate it.