Zambia: Way Forward in 2019

Photo: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images Photo: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day 2019

MiSA Zambia is sharing its recommendations for improving media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information in Zambia to mark World Press Freedom Day.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Enact the Access to Information bill

Government needs to enact the ATI Bill. Cabinet approved the long-awaited bill in March 2019 but it still needs to be passed by parliament.

Get Access to Information in the news

ATI activists should advocate for greater coverage of the importance of a domestic ATI law. Such coverage should include explanations of what ATI is and how it can help improve governance, fight corruption and enhance development.

DIGITAL RIGHTS

Maintain freedom of expression online

As Zambians increasingly exchange ideas and information online, authorities are threatening – and even arresting – people because of what they post on social media. Stakeholders need to push to keep the Internet and social media as a space for free expression.

Allow a public review of proposed cybercrime laws

Zambia is in the process of introducing laws dealing with online transactions, data and crime which could curb digital rights such as freedom of expression and privacy. Rights organisations need to push to review the proposed laws before they are debated by parliament.

Increase news coverage of the cyber crimes bills

Journalists and media houses should strive to make both the government and the public understand the impact of the cyber crimes bills.

SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS

Promote a greater understanding of journalism’s watchdog role

Media houses and media advocates should sensitise officials and party cadres about the media’s role in preventing abuses of power and promoting good governance. They should also counter the belief that criticism of ruling officials aims to topple the party rather than hold individuals to account.

End impunity for crimes against journalists

MiSA Zambia should engage with the Ministry of Home Affairs and with the Zambia Police Service to ensure crimes against journalists are investigated and those who perpetrate them are held to account.

Strengthen relations between the police and media workers

MiSA Zambia, media houses and other stakeholders should work together with the Zambia Police Service to increase officers’ understanding of media rights and improve police conduct towards media workers.

MEDIA ETHICS

Insist on ethical and professional media workers

Private and public media houses are politically polarised. Media advocacy institutions need to insist on professional standards and responsible reporting from media workers.

DIGITAL MIGRATION

Review TopStar’s operations

TopStar is Zambia’s authorised public TV distributor and also a content provider. Playing this dual role of distributor and provider is not only in breach of Zambia’s digital migration policy, but it also risks creating a monopoly. MISA Zambia and other stakeholders should work on engaging government to review TopStar’s operations.

These recommendations are taken from our State of the Media reports for 2018.  You can find all of these in our resource centre You can also download a PDF copy to print and share.
And you can also take a look at the Way Forward 2019 recommendations for MISA Malawi and MISA Zimbabwe

About MISA Zambia

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

Share