The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) in Livingstone says it is deeply concerned with the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ)’s harassment of journalists.
FODEP Livingstone District Chairperson Gideon Musonda says his organisation is concerned the continual denial of journalists by LAZ to cover the official opening of their meeting was unfortunate.
Mr. Musonda says its more saddening to learn that there demeaning remarks attributed to one of LAZ staff who called journalists ‘gate crushers’.
He said it was expected that institutions such as LAZ, after the World Press Freedom Day on May 3, would be in the forefront in the promotion of easy access to information and other related media freedoms.
“People of Zambia have the right to access news or information from various media sources hence, it is important that journalists from various media houses are granted access to cover such important meetings that attracted public interest in view of recent divisions in LAZ,” he said.
Mr. Musonda said it was disrespectful for LAZ officials to regard journalists as “gate crushers” when they were invited by the Ministry of Finance to cover the opening which was graced by Finance Minister Felix Mutati.
“It is disrespectful by anybody to regard media as gate crushers as journalists go in the field to look for information and it is not always that they only cover events upon invitation,” he said.
He further said media played an important role in the governance system of the nation; deserved respect and all stakeholders should support and endeavor to better the environment in which media operated by granting easy access to coverage.
“FODEP wishes to call for an immediate dialogue between LAZ and Livingstone Press Club as a representative of Livingstone journalists to harmonize their relationship,” he said.
Last Thursday, Ministry of Finance Head of Media and Public Relations Chileshe Kandeta invited Livingstone based journalists to cover Finance Minister Honourable Felix Mutati at the opening of the 2017 LAZ annual law conference and general meeting.
However, LAZ secretariat barred the scribes and threatened to chase them away despite being told the invitation came through the Ministry of Finance.
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