MISA Zambia Chapter is greatly disappointed and disheartened by the continued harassment and intimidation of media practitioners and institutions in this country.
Particularly MISA-Zambia wishes to condemn in the strongest terms the use of the Zambia Police before, during and after 2016 General Elections especially towards the media and members of the opposition which is worrying and a clear act of undermining Zambia’s democratic credentials.
The harassment and intimidation suffered by the Muvi TV journalist in Kasama and Prime TV on the Copperbelt respectively at the hands of police officers was unfortunate and deserved strong condemnation from the government officials which never came. The latest incidences involve reporters from Radio Mano in Kasama and Chipata TV respectively who have been victims of this intimidation.
This is undemocratic and most unfortunate in this era and time and speaks volumes of the kind of the democratic state Zambia has turned into and further demonstrates government’s lack of commitment to run a transparent, accountable and civically enlightened nation.
Press freedom is a precursor for a thriving democracy, an accountable and transparent administration and the unbridled desire by the current regime to suffocate media freedoms in this country is counterproductive and undermines democratic consolidation.
Further, the conspicuous silence on the harassment of the media by either ruling party cadres or the Zambia Police from government is extremely worrying and raises a lot of speculations among citizens that those perpetuating such vices have the government blessings.
Receiving and imparting Information and the right to hold an opinion are part of the current Bill of Rights and the government’s failure to respect people’s rights is undermining the constitution and the sustainability of a sound democratic process in the country.
This demonstrates the levels of how government is trying to shrink the media and political spaces in this country as can be seen by the closure and license suspension of some of the media outlets that provided platforms for critical governance voices in our society.
MISA-Zambia, wishes to caution government against this indiscriminate appetite of closing up or intimidating media institutions and practitioners that one day, it will boomerang.
CHAIRPERSON – MISA ZAMBIA CHAPTER