MISA opposes calls for the merger of Ministries of Information and Communication

07 Oct 2015

MISA Zambia is opposed to calls for the merger of the Ministry of Information with the Ministry of Communication as this will inhibit the few developments that have been made in the media industry with regard to the functions the former has performed.

It is our view that the suggested merger of the two ministries is misplaced as they have specific and unique functions that they perform.

As opposed to merging the ministries, it would be better to harmonise their functions to ensure that there is no duplicity in their functions as much as possible.

It is also our view that there should be, instead, refinement and adoption of the National Media Policy and Communication Policies which have been in draft form for a long time, much to the detriment of the fraternities that the two ministries superintend over.

To argue that the combination of the two ministries is consistent with trends world over is not valid because Zambia exists in a different context and the Communications and Media landscape is different.

We do not agree with calls by certain sections of the civil society organisations that the two ministries should merge.

We would therefore like to urge the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to scale up efforts aimed at ensuring that there is media diversity and development as well as a favourable media environment.

Some of these efforts should include moves towards the decriminalization of the freedom of expression through the amendment of laws inimical to the modern enjoyment of democracy.

In the same vein, we demand that cabinet should table the Access to Information (ATI) bill which has stalled under the PF government on more than five occasions since assuming power in 2011.

We wish to remind government that the ATI will empower the ordinary citizens and enable them to adequately participate in the governance of the country.

Issued By:

Hellen Mwale

Chairperson, MISA Zambia Chapter

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