Home 9 Media law and reforms 9 Government told to stop enacting restrictive laws

Government told to stop enacting restrictive laws

17 Apr, 2018
McDonald Chipenzi notes that Zambia already has a number of laws inimical to a democratic society and that impedes the enjoyment of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

Governance, Elections, Advocacy, Research Services (GEARS) Initiative Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi has charged that there is need to stop the enactment of new restrictive laws likely to suffocate the already suffocated civic and democratic spaces.

Mr. Chipenzi notes that Zambia already has a number of laws inimical to a democratic society and that impedes the enjoyment of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

He says most of the laws were enacted in the colonial days at the height of freedom struggle and were meant to stifle black people’s desire to self-rule.

Mr. Chipenzi adds that most of these laws have not undergone any comprehensive reviews and remain largely the same as they were left by the colonialists.

He cited some of the laws like the Public Order Act (1955), Penal Code (1930) while new ones are being enacted to further shrink the civic space such as NGOs Act (2009) and proposed Cyber Laws.

Mr. Chipenzi explains that protection of freedoms is crucial to creating a tolerant and pluralistic society which allows existence of groups with different beliefs, practices or policies.

He further says there have been arrests, harassment, detentions trials of citizens such as politicians, civil society, activists and media for exercising their freedoms and rights to assemble, associate and express.

The GEARS boss notes that this has weakened the civil society movement, instilled fear in citizens and media, increased emergency of government friendly based reporting among media houses.

He has further suggested that there is need to continue engaging government through relevant Ministries and departments and parliamentarians to consider sponsoring bills to review archaic and undemocratic laws.

Mr. Chipenzi also says mobilisation of critical mass around legal reforms by simplifying and translating excerpts of key legislation should also be encouraged.

He has observed that exchange visits with countries that are doing well on respecting citizens’ freedom and rights to assembly, expression and association as a learning experience like South Africa should be promoted.

Mr. Chipenzi further says a legal fund to assist those who come into conflict with the law should also be established.

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. 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 this

Related news

Government embarks on media policy reforms

Government embarks on media policy reforms

The UPND government says it has embarked on key policy and legal reforms aimed at widening the space for freedom of expression and freedom of the media. Speaking during the legal Hand Book launch this morning, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and...

MISA Zambia launches legal hand book

MISA Zambia launches legal hand book

MISA Zambia has launched a legal handbook that highlights various laws that relate to the freedom of expression, media freedom and digital rights in Zambia and how these laws impact these rights and freedoms. The handbook is divided into seven (07) modules including;...

MISA mourns veteran journalist Edem Djokotoe

MISA mourns veteran journalist Edem Djokotoe

PRESS STATEMENT For Immediate Release LUSAKA, Thursday, August 18, 2022 - MISA Zambia mourns veteran journalist and media trainer Edem Djokotoe. Mr. Djokotoe, a Ghanaian-born Journalist and Zambian resident lost his battle to colon cancer in the late hours of...

Cyber laws must allow media to facilitate good governance

Cyber laws must allow media to facilitate good governance

MISA Zambia has called on the revision of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act to enable the media play its watchdog role and facilitate good governance. Speaking during a World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) information session supported by UNESCO, MISA Zambia National...

News

/ MISA on Twitter

SASF bangladesh will be an extended social forum event and this is a working and info space for SASF Bangladesh OC … http://wp.me/p1jBiP-1l
MISA tells MMD officials to stop threatening private media...ZWD
Isoka fm board and trustees elected on 13th may 2011