Be mindful of freedom of expression, access to information
For Immediate Release
MISA Zambia is calling on government to be mindful of the right to freedom of expression and access to information as it enacts new laws to address new technological developments.
MISA Zambia makes this request based on the intentions of the government to enact laws that will regulate the online space. While we appreciate the good intentions of the laws among them protecting children and citizens from various crimes, the laws must not derogate from freedom of expression, access to information of the citizens including the media and their right of assembly online through live streaming or creation and use of groups.
MISA Zambia is further concerned with the speed at which new bills are being enacted at the expense of progressive pending Bills like the Access to Information (ATI) Bill which has been lying dormant since 2002.
We therefore appeal to government to strongly bear in mind the said rights of freedom of expression, access to information and citizen participation in democracy as it drafts the said laws. Additionally, we wish to request the government to avail the cyber laws and the proposed ATI Bills in order for the public to scrutinize and input towards them.
Meanwhile, we wish to commend government efforts to establish Village TVs and for condemning the violence that occurred in Chilanga as campaigns are going on for the parliamentary seat which fell vacant. This direction is highly commendable and it is our hope that government will always remind itself and the citizens that democracy is about freedom of choice which can only occur if citizen have unrestricted access to information, can practice their right to freedom of expression; without which democracy and good governance is compromised and ultimately leads to underdevelopment and poverty.