President Edgar Lungu has called for the protection of Journalists in the country against all forms of attacks. President Lungu said intimidation and violent attacks towards journalists should come to a stop as the media is a key component of the state.
He stated that once an individual engages into violent activities towards journalists, it becomes an act of criminality that will be prosecuted regardless of one’s political affiliation.
President Lungu was speaking during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Lusaka today. The President has assured of government’s support for press freedom in the country.
And the Head of State has urged the Police command to up their game and protect journalists, including all law-abiding citizens from harassment and violence especially ahead of the general elections on August 12, 2021.
“Harassment of journalists is totally unacceptable. Intimidation, harassment and violence is not politics, thus, immediately a person engages in such conduct, he or she has drifted from politics into criminality. Such a person must be arrested and prosecuted,” President Lungu said.
President Edgar Lungu said that the violence that happened at the Patriotic Front Secretariat on Saturday where some journalists were injured is the last test for Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja.
President Lungu said that harassment of the media is criminal and anyone perpetuating the vice should be arrested.
President Lungu said that times have changed where the media was being viewed as an enemy of the state and should now be viewed as key partners in development.
Addressing this year’s World Press Freedom Day under the theme “Information as a Public Good,” the Head of State reiterated his Government’s commitment towards Press Freedom and urged the media to remain truthful as the country heads towards the August polls.
The Head of State also urged journalists to be accurate in providing information to the general public and avoid propagating hate speech.
He observed that some media houses that are practicing unethical journalism by being biased in their reporting, will ruin the careers of the journalists whose credibility will be questioned.
President Lungu implored media practitioners to always present their news in a way that is comprehensive and proportional.
“Journalism’s first obligation is truth, and journalists can only report truthfully if they do thorough investigations and talk to all sides of the story,” he advised.
He added that some media houses have become political mouth pieces because politicians are paying journalists for positive coverage which should not be the case.
The President further advised trained journalists to distinguish themselves from citizen journalism and masqueraders by being professional in their line of work.
He noted that the country has made strides through investment in good quality news transmission through digital migration which is being emulated by other countries.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day is being commemorated under the theme “Information as a public good.”