MISA Zambia says it is saddened by the reports of an attack on two journalists in Siavonga by UPND cadres allegedly in full view of party officials during the party’s primary elections at Nabutezi Community School on Saturday.
In a statement, MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale said the organisation has always called on political parties to restrain their cadres from attacking innocent journalists who are merely there to perform their duty in the interest of the public during such events.
Ms Mwale said it is disappointing that political violence against journalists is on the rise, with the latest victims being Oliver Samboko of the Daily Nation and Jubilee Malambo of Tuta Radio in Luapula.
She said it is therefore worrying especially that the country will soon hold the general elections, which MISA expects to be tightly contested.
“We would like to challenge the UPND to set an example and immediately take action against the cadres involved as they have all been identified according to the complaint received by MISA Zambia from the two victims,” Ms Mwale said.
“We reiterate the warning as has been made previously, we will not hesitate to take stern action, including private prosecution, against party cadres and other culprits whether from the ruling party or opposition involved in the infringement of media freedom.”
Ms. Mwale commended the two journalists for immediately reporting the matter to police in Siavonga, on whom the responsibility now is to ensure the law takes its course and the culprits are brought to book.
“It is our hope that the police will treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves. MISA will in the interim, engage political parties on the safeguard of media freedom and journalists in the build up to the 2016 elections given the unprecedented level of violence against journalists witnessed so far.”