Muvi TV Journalist Njenje Chizu has narrated how he was beaten up and assaulted by police in Kasama for covering the opposition UPND.
Chizu who was released last evening revealed that he was punched by police officers who also broke his camera accusing him of having filmed UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his Vice Geoffrey Mwamba at Radio Mano.
This was at a time that police officers stormed Radio Mano to stop the radio station from interviewing a scheduled interview with the two opposition leaders.
At the time they were arresting me, I had not filmed anything at the radio station. The officers saw me during the installation ceremony for Chief Mwamba earlier in the day and they knew I was assigned to cover the UPND by my office but when they saw me at the radio station, they picked me up and dragged me to the police station,” Njenje said.
He added, “At the station, I was assaulted me, beaten up, they also broke my camera lens and they were forcing me to sign the charge sheet and I refused because they wanted to charge me with conduct likely to breach the peace.”
“Now I don’t understand if filming has now become conduct likely to breach the peace,” he said.
Njenje said the police also refused to give him a medical report.
Police released Njenje after he was made to pay K50 as admission fee.
And Hakainde Hichilema has condemned the conduct of the police in Kasama.
“As you may be aware, we were slated to appear on a paid for radio program at radio Mano here in Kasama. However, the state police stormed the radio station and begun interrogating the officials on whether we had obtained a Police permit to appear on radio,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema said this is a clear indication of media clampdown by Mr Edgar Lungu and PF.
“Since when did one had to go and get a permit in order to appear on a radio station? However, this does not surprise us and nor should it surprise you because Mr Lungu is now deep rooted into dictatorship.”
“As though that was not enough, the state Police went further and arrested a Muvi TV Journalist while others had to run for their lives after Police threatened to shoot and beat them just at radio Mano premises. This is a sorry story for the media and indeed individuals as it is now clear that Mr Lungu has designed a way that no one should say anything,” he said.
“We understand that this Journalist (Njenje Chizu) and others were only doing their job but in turn police decided to arrest him with conduct likely to cause the breach of peace. As a peace loving party, we strongly condemn this arrest because it holds no water, in any case Journalists have rights to inform, educate and entertain us as they were trained to do so,” he said.
He added, “We wonder why Mr Edgar Lungu and his PF have taken this path of wanting to close up the media in the country. From our end, we believe in media freedom and therefore such acts make us wonder whether our country is still a democratic state or monarchy.”
“We wish to remind the country that this battle of stopping others from saying anything by Mr Edgar Lungu may today not only affect Journalists but tomorrow it will be any of you citizens out there. However, we stand ready to defend justice and democracy for the benefit of our country.”