Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance calls for censure of civil servant for storming studios during live debates

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Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) has expressed its concern over the behavior of Mr. Thabo Kawana, a civil servant and Director in the Ministry of Information and Media. In a press statement issued on May 10, 2023, ZIIMA registered its displeasure with Mr. Kawana’s actions of storming studios during live debates, which it views as a deliberate victimization of media houses. ZIIMA has called upon the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry to censure Mr. Kawana and ensure that such behavior is not repeated in the future.

While ZIIMA encourages hosts of live programs to balance the panel, it views Mr. Kawana’s actions as unacceptable, especially given his position as a Director in the Ministry of Information and Media. The Ministry is supposed to uphold independence and media freedoms, in line with the aspirations of President Hakainde Hichilema and the New Dawn administration.

ZIIMA is urging Mr. Kawana and other individuals who harbor such temptations to use other means, such as phoning or requesting the right to respond, instead of storming studios during live debates. They caution that allowing such behavior to continue would lead to chaos in discussions and interviews.

ZIIMA has urged media houses to remain strong and thwart any attempts at intimidation. The organization hopes that Mr. Kawana’s superiors will censure him for his behavior, and that this will be the last time such actions are witnessed.

In response to ZIIMA’s statement, the United Party for National Development (UPND) has justified Mr. Kawana’s actions. The UPND issued a statement stating that the government will not allow people to tell lies in order to make the New Dawn Government unpopular, and that all lies will be met with the full force of factual information.

Mr. Kawana, the Director Spokesperson in the Ministry of Information and Media, said that there will be no more time when people will go to media houses to tell lies and lies are left uncorrected. He stated that the government has a duty to provide factual information to the citizens, and that challenging lies made on public platforms such as radio and television stations is not illegal.

Mr. Kawana added that there is nothing confrontational in challenging lies, as this provides the Zambian people with an opportunity to hear both sides of the story and make their own sound judgment. He emphasized that the Ministry does not storm radio and TV stations, but instead engages the respective management before appearing on programs.

38 COMMENTS

  1. I was surprised that the VP was claiming that press freedom has been enhanced during the Upnd tenure. As she was telling us this fairy tale, Kawana was busy interfering with a radio program somewhere in Lusaka. What is he trying to do? This is tantamount to suffocating the truth otherwise what else can motivate him to such uncivil actions.

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    • #Spaka… We’re intelligent people and can tell truth from lies. When this dog has his live program no one interrupts him. If Mwamba is lying we will know. Why should he stop someone from stating that there’s no mealie meal in town when everyone can see there’s no mealie meal in town.

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    • Can any of you who are addicted to defending the ruling party sit down and think before you answer my question? What do staff in the Ministry of Broadcasting and Media do? I contend they do nothing. They just wait for their salaries which we taxpayers cannot afford to hand them.
      In a democracy the media regulates itself. Any other type of regulation is censorship. The ministry may invent rules but this will be interference. Some of us have been saying this since the dawn of democracy and opposition members do pretend to understand us when not in power but after jumping on to the ruling party branch they become chameleons. Just like the Religous Ministry this ministry should be done away with immediately.

    • I wonder if Spaka is human. Asking such a dumb question: Is nsima all you think about ??? Yes of course. Nsima is what removed KK from office. The fear of Nsima dissappearing is what put MMD out of power. Nsima is what has brought HH into power. Politics is always about food!

  2. Kawana must behave like a civil servant. He cannot be storming radio and tv stations disrupting programmes when he can call the media anytime. Let media freedom flourish.

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    • This man has nothing to do in that office. He looks for hornet’s nests that he can poke to ripple society. This ministry should go!

    • Not even top level. Just a simple cadre given an office that he thinks is important yet it isj ust for rabble rousing

  3. Thabo nee mb0-low yoyuma. He is a sick angry f00I. He is not even Zambian. Elo mubi uyu . He cannot be Zambian with such ugliness

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  4. A civil servant mentally fatigued, fraught with incivility.
    Instead of UPND busying themselves to correcting lies they perpetrated to the electorate, they are embarassingly storming media houses for coverups. They have found it fit to correct opposition lies than their own. People are intelligent, able to tell who is live on TV/radio truth telling or lying without Kawana’s undesirable assistance.

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  5. This is the same guy who at one stage said the UPND leadership was dull. He is now working with the same “dull leadership”. My foot!!

  6. The problem these days we have alot of morons Pretending to be Journalists and yet they don’t know any ethics about Journalism….if you want to challenge someone you set up your own time slot you don’t storm a radio show and interrupt someone…and I don’t know why the Radio station allowed him to go in the studio when he was not their quest….Kawana needs to be arrested and charged

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  7. The PF are finding there feigned victimisation is not enough to the public attention they need………reports indicate tiysli has been arrested for staging a fake ary raid with PF….

    The churches are also not enough for the attention they need………..

    The PF are irrelevant to national issues and their last resort is to tell lies the can’t substantiate.

    The lies can’t stand when challenged with the truth like what kawana is doing………..

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    • Are you not ashamed that even fellow Upnd members feel embarrassed by your shallowness? Could be from the same placenta with Kawana maybe?

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    • Deja Vu

      “..Are you not ashamed that even fellow Upnd members feel embarrassed by your shallowness?…”

      There is no shame or shallowness in admitting the truth……….

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  8. At least better than that era when violent cadres would storm radio stations to disrupt programmes

    • That’s very shallow. He’s got no more right than anyone else to do whatever he chooses. Next time Upnd cadres will pick a leaf from this nicompoop and injure someone… back to PF days.

    • Dejavu

      These interventions are none violent………..

      I know it is hard for you PF rats to understand……….

  9. So much talk about liberties brought about by the New Dark regime, but proves that it’s just been rhetoric all the way through from the supreme leader down to the praise singer.

  10. We are not stopping anyone from going on air…………

    But are introducing a balanced prospective………..by attending the same programme where lies are being spewed.

    The PF rats are also welcome to invite them selves to any forum to correct any lies they consider………

    This is what we call self regulation

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    • Kaps

      That’s why Dejavu is calling you shallow. How can you term Kawana’s action to mean self-reguletion? Is that the new policy direction? Only a hollow thought, that is.

    • Yes……..

      it is self regulation in that there is no violence and what is perceived as lies is balanced.

      No violence, No police , lies balanced with views from the other side
      =
      Self regulation

    • If the radio/television opposition sit in live programme is in Mufumbwe and Thabo is in Shan’gombo, how would he “self regulate” the media? Should he be air lifted to the studio or someone else will be assigned to quell assumed “lies”?

    • Im a journalist and this is the worst spin I have ever heard on self regulation in my career. Simply put, self regulation means no interference from any quarter in our transmission of news. It certainly doesnt mean government butting into our broadcast however angelic their views are. Media freedom strongly abhors interference especially from government

  11. This guy was given the wrong job. If it is necessary to reward him with a job send him into foreign service as press aide or something.

    • Nooooooo! Thats not the way the Civil Service recruits staff. There is a Public Service Commission which advertises posts and every eleigible Zambian applies then the commission appoints you. Party cadres cannot be appointed as civil servants because they are partisan

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  12. Tightening State controls and monitoring clearly negates guaranteed freedom and independence of both public and private media. Putting a chokehold on citizen access to information can never be “self regulation” in strictest terms. Kawana is just bullying both media and citizens.

  13. Can any of you who are addicted to defending the ruling party sit down and think before you answer my question? What do staff in the Ministry of Broadcasting and Media do? I contend they do nothing. They just wait for their salaries which we taxpayers cannot afford to hand them.

  14. In a democracy the media regulates itself. Any other type of regulation is censorship. The ministry may invent rules but this will be interference. Some of us have been saying this since the dawn of democracy and opposition members do pretend to understand us when not in power but after jumping on to the ruling party branch they become chameleons. Just like the Religous Ministry this ministry should be done away with immediately.

  15. Ministry of Broadcasting Interference
    Director also pseudo PS: Thabo Kawana-Ex UPND cadre still UPND cadre
    Head of Staff: Chushi “Smokey” Kasanda sometimes known as Govt Spokesperson but just turns up for tea in the office

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