A free and independent media is crucial to the development of democracy in any country, MISA Zambia has said.
Speaking to the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communication during a policy makers engagement meeting, MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale in a speech read on her behalf says without a vibrant media, the public’s right to receive information on matters of public interest from a variety of sources cannot be fulfilled and the free and open debate that is indispensable to the development of public policy cannot take place.
“If Zambia is to develop as a free, open and democratic society and as a prosperous country, a climate in which a free, independent and pluralistic media can flourish becomes key'”, Mwale says.
Mwale reminded the policy makers that they are an important stakeholder in law development reform and that organizations such as MISA rely on them for any law reform in Zambia.
And MISA Zambia National Director says there are still laws that hinge on media freedom and freedom of expression adding that there are no legal provisions which provide for the protection of the media during their course of duty and this affects their work.
Reports by MISA Zambia have shown a continuous decline in media freedom and freedom of expression in the country. Suffice to say, the media who make it possible for citizens to effectively express themselves continue to work under a harsh legal environment.