Stop beating journalists and censoring the media

Stop beating journalists and censoring the media

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia is calling on all political parties not to beat journalists and refrain from acts of censorship because an independent media is key to free and fair elections.

In order for citizens to make an informed decision, they need information and therefore, elections are highly dependent on the free flow of information, something which the media in Zambia is trying so hard to provide.

However, the current onslaught by some political parties on media workers and institutions is very worrying. MISA Zambia has so far recorded six reports of harassment and media rights violations around this election period. These include attacks on two Post photojournalists, two attacks on Muvi TV reporters and the storming of ZNBC newsroom by some politicians.

This is in addition to a ban on Walamo Community Radio of Mpulungu from running news since Saturday (13 December 2014) and threats of dismissal of all staff by Area Member of Parliament Freedom Sikazwe. This development is very disturbing as it goes against media freedom which is the oxygen of any true democracy.

We wish to advise Hon. Sikazwe to stop harassing and interfering in the operations of the community radio stations. Hon. Sikazwe has no powers to control content of a media institution. We therefore advise him to follow the right procedure to report any complaints or grievances to the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

MISA Zambia would also like to appeal to the PF leadership to ask their members to refrain from attacking media personal and allow them to do their work.

Further, we wish to appeal to all the political parties who have been involved in this vice to address the outbreak of violence against the media and acts of censorship because the media are simply being beaten for reporting the truth and providing information to the electorate.

Hellen Mwale
15 December 2014

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.