Zambia threatens media with statutory regulation
Zambia’s Chief Government Spokesperson, Chishimba Kambwili, has threatened state regulation of the media citing what he termed as “failure by the print media to regulate itself” leaving government with no option but to step in.
Speaking at a press briefing on April 6, 2016, Kambwili, who is also the minister of information, stated that some media houses were allegedly receiving payments from politicians to provide positive coverage.
There has been growing concern over the persistent threats of statutory regulation of the media especially given the country’s human rights record and the existence of several laws inimical to media freedom in the constitution and penal code respectively as well as increased intolerance against media practitioners evidenced by political violence and near fatal attacks on several individual journalists.
Zambia was ranked ‘not free’ in the 2015 Freedom of the Press report by Freedom House, an internationally recognised organisation that seeks to foster freedom of expression.
A few years ago, media organistions, trade unions and other stakeholders through Media Liaison Committee set up the Zambia Media Ethics Councils as a self-regulatory mechanism to enhance media rights and responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Kambwili has reported the Post newspaper to police for alleged ‘phone tapping’ over a story which quoted a phone conversation between himself and Kitwe District Commissioner Chanda Kabwe, stating the act by the publication by the newspaper is a violation of hi privacy.