STEP UP EFFORTS TO PROTECT JOURNALIST, THE TRUTH – MISA
2nd November 2020
LUSAKA – As MISA Zambia joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we wish to re-echo the call for Zambia to step up efforts to protect journalists and in turn the truth.
The above stated day commemorates journalists, who on a daily basis suffer from non-fatal attacks, including torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations.
Every year, the United Nations marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2. This year, the day is celebrated under the theme: “Protect Journalists, Protect the Truth”.
As MISA commemorates this day, we wish to state that the number of incidents we have recorded that undermine journalists’ safety in Zambia is having an impact on their ability to report the truth.
For instance, the number of incidents of censorship against media that provides platforms for persons with opposing views have been on the rise and is worrying. The censorship takes the form of stopping of live or recorded radio programmes by cadres or district commissioners.
The acts of intimidation and harassment which take on physical abuse, verbal abuse, legal means, veiled threats and a non-constitutional directive that requires radio stations to notify the Zambia Police before featuring an opposition party on radio, especially in rural areas, are a source of concern.
We would, therefore, like to remind the state that such acts have a negative impact on society including journalists themselves, especially when perpetrators remain unpunished.
MISA Zambia is thereby, calling upon the government and the police to step up efforts to address the impunity against journalists.
While we are cognisant of the efforts and commitment by the State and the Zambia Police, we believe the necessary change has not been attained and we need more efforts and concrete steps against those who perpetuate impunity against the media.