The Patriotic Front has condemned the recently reported disturbances that took place at Radio Maria in Chipata by alleged PF sympathisers and have called on the Police to investigate and ensure media practitioners and media houses do not operate under fear of attack in the course of duty.The PF leadership has urged its members to welcome constructive criticism and has also urged the opposition to avoid insults ,inflammatory language and fabricating false stories.
Below is the Full Press release
The Patriotic Front strongly condemns the recently reported disturbances that took place at Radio Maria in Chipata by alleged PF sympathisers and we make a strong call to the Police to investigate and ensure media practitioners and media houses do not operate under fear of attack in the course of duty.
The Party leadership of the PF is extremely saddened by this development and is calling on all genuine PF members to desist from such conduct because they are alien to the media freedoms we committed to uphold. In making this call, the leadership of the Party wishes to advise as follows:
1. PF MEMBERS SHOULD WELCOME CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM, BUT IGNORE PROVOCATION
Violence in any form is inexcusable and diametrically opposed to what Patriotic Front stands for. The President of the Party who is also our Head of State His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has been unequivocally consistent in his counsel to PF members to resist all violent acts and to never retaliate to any provocation no matter how grievous or tempting the provocation may be.
All members of the Party are therefore under strict instructions to remain unmoved and exercise restraint even under extreme provocation. Anyone who is a genuine and well-meaning member of Patriotic Front will therefore not go against the core values of the party and the clear guidance of our President
We wish to emphasise that we are neither allergic to criticism nor are exempt from it and we can always rebut in more civil ways. Like John F. Kennedy once said: _“Without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive”_.
Criticism – especially of the constructive type only helps us to improve. No official or member of the PF should therefore think the Party is allergic to criticism. PF does not exist for censorship of the news. We do not exist to stifle dissenting or divergent views, nor are we wired to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know. We are configured and ready for public scrutiny; that is in our basic design.
We are ready to be held accountable and we are ready to be asked questions; and yes we have refused to respond to provocative opposition malice with violence.
2. OUR ASSURANCE TO THE MEDIA FRATERNITY
It is no coincidence that the Media industry has grown exponentially since the Patriotic Front formed government in 2011. The phenomenal growth of the media industry and the unprecedented accelerated promotion of journalism under the tenure of PF is a direct result of the Party placing a high value on Media houses as partners in development. The Media fraternity and the journalism fraternity can thus rest assured of a continued enabling environment for them to grow and thrive.
3. A CALL TO OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE OPPOSITION TO REFRAIN FROM INSULTS, INFLAMMATORY LANGUAGE AND FAKE NEWS
As we call for restraint within PF, we equally continue our call to our competitors to refrain from insults, fabricating fake news and using any demeaning and inflammatory language, as it only robs us all of an opportunity for constructive engagement and civility. We are at the end of the day all humans, and Zambians with children, grandchildren and an entire nation looking up to us for exemplary conduct in the ruling party and opposition alike.
We are aware of some of our colleagues in the opposition who sadly seek to abuse any media platform they are accorded with to insult and malign the President and other ruling party officials all in the name of freedom of expression; thereby contaminating the freedom of expression and abusing media freedoms.
In conclusion, we are calling for politics of civility, and the law to take its course wherever political violence rears its ugly head.