AMI Senior Adviser Wangethi Mwangi, Post Editor Fred M’membe, IPI Executive Board Chair John Yearwood and IPI Director of Advocacy Steven M. Ellis during a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia on July 14, 2016
AMI Senior Adviser Wangethi Mwangi, Post Editor Fred M’membe, IPI Executive Board Chair John Yearwood and IPI Director of Advocacy Steven M. Ellis during a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia on July 14, 2016

The International Press Institute has released a report on its joint emergency press freedom mission to Zambia last month with the African Media Initiative (AMI) to examine government pressure on opposition newspaper The Post ahead of Aug. 11 elections.

The report finds that the ongoing seizure of the daily’s offices and printing press in Lusaka by revenue authorities, as well as continuing attempts to hinder its ability to continue publishing, appear to be part of a politically motivated attempt by President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front party to silence a persistent critic in order to hold on to power.

The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) says the seizure is intended to collect 53.9 million Kwacha the daily owes for allegedly unpaid VAT receipts and employee income tax remittances – an amount The Post disputes.

But the IPI/AMI report finds that “[t]he overwhelming pattern of government conduct… conclusively demonstrates that this case is not about the timely and proper collection of taxes.” Report author Steven M. Ellis, IPI’s director of advocacy and communications, warned that the case “could have an extremely negative impact on democracy in the region, insofar as other leaders might take note and seek to misuse state power to similar ends”.

For weeks, the ZRA has defied an order by Zambia’s Tax Appeals Tribunal to turn the seized premises over to The Post and to allow it to resume printing.

The Post continues to publish in secret, but those helping it to do so have faced harassment and intimidation.

IPI and the AMI called on the government to obey the order and end pressure on The Post.

The case is one of a number of troubling developments – including a rise in political violence and pressure on media – that have cast a shadow over Zambia’s reputation as a leader in respect for democracy and human rights in the region.

The IPI/AMI report follows a July 13-15 visit to Lusaka in which delegates from the groups met with representatives from government, the leading opposition party, The Post, the judiciary, civil society and the legal community, and foreign diplomatic missions. 

http://www.freemedia.at/IPIMain/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016-IPI-AMI-Zambia-Press-Freedom-Mission-Report-Final.pdf

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6 COMMENTS

  1. @LT
    The report finds that the ongoing seizure of the daily’s offices and printing press in Lusaka by revenue authorities, as well as continuing attempts to hinder its ability to continue publishing, appear to be part of a politically motivated attempt by President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front party to silence a persistent critic in order to hold on to power.

    Please advise, which daily’s offices are you talking about?

    VIVA UPND, VIVA HH 2016

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  2. The International Press Institute is just a group of i.di.ots who find pleasure in fellow men’s anuses. If they accessed your sewer system meembe and promised anything. It is your problem because on 11th the same President will be back and with new instruction now to collect the 14 billion DBZ tax payers money as well. sO YOU F00L FORM HELL GO AND TELL THAT TO YOUR DEVIL. US WE WANT OUR MONEY

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  3. Pay for him then they will allow him to operate freely. If this happened in your country how would your government react?

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  4. The International Press Institute released report is rubish because it one sided. You should have asked when the problemof unpaying tax started which long time before PF came into power. Infact when PF came into power cancelled the tax arrears. Now tell us who is bad? Even Membe is laughing at you.

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  5. THE IPI WHATEVER DID NOT ASK ZAMBIANS WHAT THEY THOUGHT ABOUT MMEMBE’S BEHAVIOUR IN GENERAL BUT WERE HERE TO MASSAGE MMEMBE’S INFLATED EGO.
    MMEMBE THINKS SO MUCH OF HIS SELF IMPORTANCE THAT HE CAN RIDE ROUGH SHOD OVER OUR LAWS AND THAT HE IS UNTOUCHABLE. ONE REASON I AM VOTING FOR LUNGU IS BECAUSE HE HAS CALLED MMEMBE’S BLUFF AND HE IS BEING SORTED OUT.
    CALL IT POLITICAL OR WHATEVER WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THIS CHAP WHO HAS BEEN MANIPULATING THE SYSTEM FOR HIS OWN ENDS UNDER THE CARTEL etc etc
    GOOD RIDDANCE THE GUTTER POST!!!!!

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