Attacks on media houses shrinking democratic space

Attacks on media houses shrinking democratic space
MISA Zambia has expressed concern on the continued attacks on media houses in the country by the Patriotic Front (PF) political party cadres terming it to be an affront to democracy and good governance in Zambia.

Speaking in a statement, MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale says reports of attacks on Mafken radio in Mufulira on the Copperbelt Province by PF Cadres for featuring opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema on the station is threatening the rights of citizens and media to express themselves freely and enjoy their right to information without any hindrance.

Mwale explains that the institution received reports of PF cadres storming into Mafken radio with intentions of disrupting a radio programme and threatened to burn down the radio station if they continued with the interview.

“We are concerned that it was not so long ago that some PF cadres attacked Muchinga Radio and Isoka FM in Muchinga Province respectively when they featured Mr Hichilema on their respective stations,” she says. It is sad that some radio stations withdraw these matters at the police or court level hence culprits who are enemies of democracy continue to carry out acts that denigrate our democracy and contribute to the shrinking democratic space.

Media freedom is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely by everyone and it is important because it plays a vital role in informing citizens about public affairs and monitoring the actions of government at all levels.

Therefore, MISA Zambia is calling on the PF party to take action and put an end to this spate of attacks on the media by ensuring that such supporters are expelled from their party. In addition, we expect the PF to report such supporters to the Zambia Police for violating the Constitutionally provided freedoms; that is freedom of expression and media freedom.

The attacks if not stemmed, are a threat to the peace of the nation and to Zambia’s democratic consolidation because freedom of expression and media freedom; including the right to information is key to democracy and a peaceful society.
Additionally, we urge all media practitioners to report such matters to the police in order for such culprits to be brought to book through the legal system.
Ms Hellen Mwale
MISA Zambia Chairperson

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.