The Northern Region Media Club has condemned the conduct of Kitwe Businessman Daniel Makina’s supporters who attacked journalists on Friday.
Makina who is also Director at Nkana College of Education is facing an aggravated robbery case and theft of copper cathodes.
Makina has been remanded at Kamfinsa Correctional Facility in Kitwe for over one month after he was arrested for stealing copper cathodes.
When he appeared before the Kitwe Magistrates Court for a mention, Makina applied for a preliminary inquiry in a matter where he has been jointly charged with a Chililabombwe based taxi driver for stealing copper cathodes worth K1.8 million.
Makina 35 is jointly charged with Chipili Chilufya 32 for stealing copper belonging to Polytra Zambia Limited.
Details are that Makina and Chilufya Jointly and whilst acting together on 28 August in Kitwe attacked RAJAB BASHID MAGWILA with Pistols and used threats and violence to steal the copper cathodes.
When the matter came up before Magistrate Kampinda Chipamu, Makina, through his lawyers, applied that a preliminary inquiry be set up before the matter can be tried in the High Court.
His lawyers have argued that their client had overstayed in custody without trial.
“My understanding is that the law says a preliminary inquiry is mandatory. We pray that the court exercises this in order for our client to be heard,” said Govu Nyirongo one of his lawyers.
Magistrate Chipamu has reserved ruling for Monday next week.
Later, outside while the case was on, Makina’s supporters started attacking photojournalists who were positioned outside with ZNBC cameraman Kashete Sinyangwe as the target.
As the commotion grew, two prosecutors stepped in and restrained the fight.
But Makina’s supporters continued insulting the cameraman until a ZNBC vehicle picked him up. Other Journalists watched from distance as his supporters become unruly.
Commenting on the attacks, NORMEC Secretary Clinton Masumba says it is unacceptable that journalists can be attacked in their line of duty.
“We have received with regret, disappointment, the verbal and physical attacks on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television Camera-person Kashete Sinyangwe by unruly sympathisers of local Businessman Daniel Makina at the Kitwe Magistrates Court.
As Makina was appearing before the Honourable court, his sympathisers decided to verbally and physically attack Sinyangwe denying him an opportunity to perform his duty as they attempted to grab the camera with intentions only known to them.
We find this behaviour uncalled for; primitive and inhuman especially that it happened within the Court premises.”
“We, however wish to extend our gratitude to two prosecutors that came to Sinyangwe’s rescue.The Northern Region Media Club wishes to remind the public that the role of Media remains to inform, educate and entertain. While, we take cognisant on the fact that sympathisers were emotional, it is only important that the media is given space to do their work.We appeal to the public to always respect Journalists and allow them to work freely without being attacked, intimidated or harassed because ours is a noble profession.
It is also important for people to appreciate the role journalists play in the society on issues of public interest, and we know that the case in question is of such nature,” Masumba said.
He appealed to the Zambia Police to help protect journalists.
Masumba said it was unfortunate that this comes barely two weeks after a Flava FM reported was beaten in Buchi for covering riots.
“As NORMEC, we further appeal to the Zambia Police Service to help in protecting journalists while they carry out their duties from such attacks whenever available because journalists play a vital role in ensuring news and events are reported for public consumption.It is sad that this incident is happening just a few weeks after another Journalist, Raphael Mulenga of Flava Fm Radio was also attacked and badly beaten by unruly people that rioted in Buchi Township after a Police Officer allegedly shot a car washer. We also wish to call for a free and independent media operation zone, because such attacks are a serious threat to Zambia’s democracy and an affront to the freedom of the press.Journalism is not a crime in a democratic dispensation like Zambia and any form of attack or aggression against a Journalist is an insult to the country’s democracy. An attack on one is an attack on all of us,” said Masumba.