The Free Press Initiative – FPI has expressed displeasure over the news of ruling United Party for National Development – UPND cadres storming two radio stations on the Copperbelt Province in the last few days.
On 31st December, 2022, the UPND cadres stormed Kokoliko FM in Chingola and stopped a paid for radio programme which featured opposition political party Leader for the Economic and Equity Party – EEP Mr Chilufya Tayali. And the next day on 1st January, 2023, another group of UPND cadres stormed Mafken radio in Mufulira where they threatened to burn the radio station if they proceeded to host Mr Tayali.
FPI Founder and Executive Director Joan Chirwa stated that this behavior is totally outrageous and inimical to principles of democracy which demand total respect for media freedom, adding that what is even more annoying is the fact that such barbaric behavior has continued to surface even after several assurances by President Hakainde Hichilema that his Party and Government will not tolerate the storming of radio stations by cadres because they “value” media freedom.
“We expect these words to match the actions!” she stated
Ms Chirwa noted that Politicians must understand that the media exists to ensure all democratic principles are followed in a democratic country by providing a platform where everyone who wishes to express themselves on national issues can do so without hindrance or fear. However, the behavior of political cadres has over the years made this almost impossible.
“Now that the UPND National Youth Chairperson Mr Gilbert Liswaniso has apologized to the media for that silly behavior of their cadres, we expect the party to go beyond an apology by ensuring that all those behind the Copperbelt acts are brought to account. Further, the UPND must sensitize its membership in districts across the country on the importance of press freedom which they themselves benefited from, albeit under difficult circumstances,” she said
She further noted that the UPND must send a strong and clear message to its membership that harassment of journalists will not be tolerated, otherwise, President Hichilema’s pronouncement that no cadre of theirs will harass journalists or radio stations will be taken as a mere joke.
Ms Chirwa added that issuing statements is one thing and the party taking action against perpetrators of these media freedom violations is another.
“We have witnessed this kind of behavior for many years. MMD did it; the PF did it, and sadly, the UPND that promised a near perfect environment for the media is doing the same horrible thing. It’s only a few months ago when their cadres beat up a journalist at PASME radio in Petauke for simply hosting a show that discussed the late delivery of farming inputs,” she said
Ms Chirwa hopes that, this is the last of such uncalled for behaviour from the UPND cadres, action must also be taken against individuals involved to serve as an example to other party members who may want to perpetrate the harassment of journalists under the banner of being the party in government.
Meanwhile, UPND National Youth Chairperson Gilbert Liswaniso has strongly warned party youths that have recently exhibited excitement and a level of indiscipline aimed at despising President Hakainde Hichilema.
And Mr Liswaniso has distanced the party from recent actions by party youths in Mufulira and Chingola districts on the Copperbelt who stopped Economic and Equity Party leader Chilufya Tayali from appearing on two radio programmes.
Mr Liswaniso who has apologized to the media for the harassment suffered during the two incidents has also reminded the party youths that the opposition are a stakeholder who should be allowed to express themselves in any form.
Mr Liswaniso has since warned that he will soon avail to the Ministry of Home Affairs a list of police officers who he says are mocking party youths for their continued suffering despite belonging to the ruling party.
What Free Press Initiative fails to encourage is that every Zambian is now free to insult, demonise and arrest our heads of state because the defamation law is out of the books.
This is where the President himself has to come out and show leadership not hide like he did last week when his appointees in the civil service were buying luxury vehicles for the wives.
Very true. He is a coward who doesnt have the courage to roast his own followers for fear of losing popularity. He couldnt fire Gary Nkombo for a criminal act of forcing Kachasu into the mouth of a minor.
This is where the President himself has to come out and show leadership not hide like he did last week when his appointees in the civil service were buying luxury vehicles for the w ives.
This is where the President himself has to come out and show leadership not hide like he did last week when his appointees in the civil service were buying luxury vehicles for the w ive s.
There was no need for the president to comment on the luxury vehicles that were bought using personal loans. Morally, it was not right for Kawana to do display his private information in the media.
@Kanene Loans? What loans? The thing is the civil servants who were buying these cars dont qualify for loans of that amount. Theyhavent met met the threshold for loans in the civil service. That is but stolen money
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Of everything I have read in this article the most disturbing word is the “Hope” that Ms Chirwa expresses. That word is not in keeping with natural justice. He who lives on hope dies starving they say. Sue them … let the law take its course so that there is no hoping when anyone does anything that it will not be done again. STOP hoping! A mambala.
I concur. Please stop this hapless attitude of always hoping and apologizing on behalf.Some thugs need to made an example off.Use your cameraphones,please.
Very very sensible. What is hope? We need action!
Who ever is paying him to provoke the President should stop. Who is he to cliam the President is mad, that’s pushing his luck too far. He should find a decent way of making a living.
Talking won’t solve anything . We want to see arrests and prison sentences.
Mulenya mulelapilila. We warned you about upnd. All those who voted that autocratic megalomaniac hh are the ones to blame. You big f00Is. That is why I used to whlp you with my pistol.
Instead of invading radio stations,someone should just injure Tayali in the streets……………This is my contribution to free speech
Free speech doesnt include hate speech. The encouragement of violence is not part of free speech. You cant go to Kenneth Kaunda airport and shout “I ve got a bomb!” You will be arrested and locked up. There are laws that govern free speech
@KZ those are your creation, they hv jst changed frm green to red. This can’t surprise me bcos it’s a continuation of the former regime, no discipline.
You are f00Iish my friend
Journalist.There is a thin line between hate speech and freedom of speech because they are both speches .If you go at Kenneth Kaunda airport and shout”I ve got a bomb”thats not encouraging violence,thats terrorism. But if you go and at Kenneth Kaunda airport and shout”HH is mad”,in our culture,you will definitely be bashed. You will have very little time to explain to a mob the difference between insulting the President and free speech. Academics will fail you,The moral of the story is that free speech has limits,and Tayali is stretching the envelop
Our friends would have rushed to the global Community by now. Once politicians loose the people’s trust, that’s it. The president himself said we can call him whatever we want, he does not mind so what’s up with these Kabovas who stormed a radio station?
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