State of the Media in Zambia – Q1, 2017
The state of the media in Zambia continues to deteriorate in the first quarter of 2017, with constrains from various groups in the country including the state.
The great contribution that a free and unconstrained media in a country makes can never be over emphasised. Benjamin Franklin says that whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
With regards to this country, despite governments frequent assurance that it values free press, the media is suffering under intimidation and fear.
- Armed police officers raided former Post Newspapers proprietor Fred M’membe’s house in February. They harassed and tore his wife’s dress in the presence of onlookers after they failed to find M’membe.
- In February, police and plain clothed state operatives raided a plot at 19 Joseph Mwilwa Rd in Lusaka where they believed The Mast newspaper’s newsroom was operating.
- Police were deployed at Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) in March to stop a sit-in which had started because of delayed salaries. The police presence caused panic among some members of staff who did not understand why their peaceful protest could warrant such a move.
- In March, some suspected political party cadres assaulted two journalists at the United Party for National Development secretariat in Lusaka after police stopped a press conference.
As these incidents show, media is suffering direct threats from law enforcement as well as by political players. In addition, actions such as the non-payment of salaries or low salaries are an indirect means of suppressing critical voices.
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