State of the Media in Zambia – Q2, 2017

State of the Media in Zambia – Q2, 2017

Freedom of expression and of the media in Zambia still remains seems to be a far-fetched dream.

The media remained tight lipped with the quest to protect their jobs and operation licences. Despite being told by President Edgar Lungu that the media will remain free under his leadership, the period under review suggests that Freedom of expression and of the media is deteriorating in the Nation.

The continued trend of media suppression from the ruling party has forced the media to practice self-censorship in order to avoid closure or suspension of their operation licences.

The review of media content analysis data has continued to indicate high levels of polarisation especially as it pertains to the coverage and reporting on the various political parties.

  • The Judiciary banned the media from taking photographs in courts and using explicit langue in their reportage. The judiciary said it was concerned that some journalists from different sections of the media and public had been taking photographs and videos of proceedings inside the court rooms.
  • Media faced a flurry of legal suits and counter suits that were clearly adding to the many pressures that they have already been facing since 2016. One unique case was one where the Daily Nation Newspaper threatened to sue The Mast Newspaper.
  • Former Post Newspaper proprietor Fred M’membe was reported to be hiding. Liquidator Lewis Mosho told the Sunday Nation that they were still looking for him as he was in hiding.
  • MISA Zambia intervened to save 29 radio stations from facing the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) wrath. MISA Zambia said it engaged IBA in finding a solution to the issue surrounding the 29 radio stations that were at risk of losing their operating licenses due to non-payment of operational fees to the authority.

What is evident though, is that the hope for a freer media and freedom of expression in Zambia is ever getting far fetched going by these events.

For the full report: State of the Media in Zambia Q2 2017.pdf

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