The Zambia High Commission in London has said that it has noted with disappointment an article that was published by The Sun, a UK Tabloid on Sunday 25 November 2018, insinuating that the Duchess of Sussex pulled out of a visit to Zambia due to Zika concerns.
The article was also reported on the Mail Online under the headline: Exhausted Meghan pulled out of royal trip with Harry to Zambia amid fear over Zika virus.
The Zambia High Commission Press Office has since written to the SUN expressing displeasure and demanding a retraction of the story as well as an apology.
The mission has further advised the author to research as it is a known fact that Zambia has never experienced any Zika case and has not been listed on the Center for Disease Control and Protection as a country that is prone to the disease.
‘We understand that there is freedom of expression, but the Sun editorial board should know that freedom comes with responsibility. Such unresearched and irresponsible reporting has the potential of damaging a country’s tourism and business prospects. In this regard, the Zambia High Commission demands without reservations, a public apology and a retraction of the story to be published with equal publicity immediately.’ the letter reads in part.
In 2016 another major UK newspaper, Telegraph, published false information about Zambia when it run excerpts from a book by Louise Linton, a Scottish lady who at the time was pursuing a career as an actress in California, titled ‘In Congo’s Shadow’ about her brief stay in Zambia as a volunteer’. Some Zambians took to Twitter and Facebook to show outrage after the Telegraph newspaper published an article about a new book authored by a young Scottish Lady in which she describes Zambia as a war torn country with children orphaned by HIV.
In a Telegraph article, as an 18-year-old, Louise, a former pupil of the prestigious Fettes College came to Africa with hopes of helping some of the world’s poorest people but that her gap year became a living nightmare when she inadvertently found herself caught up in the fringes of the war in Congo during her stay in Zambia.
She went on to describe what the Tutu and Hutsu rebels would do to the ‘skinny white Muzungu with long angel hair’ if they found her.
A line in her book reads: “Life was idyllic at first, a gap year student’s dream. My new home was beautiful and I made close friendships with the local Bemba people. I learned some of their language, planted a vegetable garden and created a little school under a Mukusi tree, writing about my experiences in my diary. I was still struggling with the loss of my mother and found special comfort in my bond with Zimba, a six-year-old orphan girl with HIV who called me “Ru-eese”.
The book has since been withdrawn.