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Lack of ATI limiting media freedom

4 Oct, 2022
The culture of secrecy among government officials in Zambia has persisted as information held by government, which is necessary for public use, is treated as secret and in-house information.

Lack of an Access to Information (ATI) Law has continued to affect media freedom and limiting the media in Zambia.

Speaking during the 20th MISA Platinum & Golden awards which were celebrated on 30th September 2022 under the theme,’ Access to information, towards transparency, accountability and e-governance’, MISA Zambia Chairperson Rev. Fr. Barnabas Simatende OMI (PhD) says media freedom in Zambia has continued to be affected by the journalist’s limited access to information.

“The culture of secrecy among government officials has persisted as information held by government, which is necessary for public use, is treated as secret and in-house information”, he says.

Rev. Fr. Simatende adds that bureaucracy and lack of decentralized information channels among public institutions are other major obstacles that limit and restrict access to information necessary for the citizens to make informed decisions.

“Journalists, especially those in rural districts of the country often times have had their requests for information referred to provincial officials or the capital city – Lusaka which headquarters most government ministries. District officials often refuse to comment on matters of public interest affecting local communities”, he added.

And speaking during the same event, the Swedish Ambassador Mr. Johan Hallenborg says Sweden has had a special emphasis on democracy in recent years which is called the drive for democracy and their ambition is to counter the democratic backsliding we see around the world.

“Strengthening free and independent media, including on the internet, is one of the focus areas of the drive for democracy. However, media freedom is part of all our focus areas. These include support and protect the voices of democracy such as human rights defenders, strengthening respect for the rule of law, promoting the growth of independent institutions and strengthening women’s political participation and influence. These objectives cannot be achieved without a free and independent media”, he says.

Ambassador Hallenborg adds that in this time of global democratic backsliding, strong democracies must join hands adding that in many countries which move towards increased autocracy, access to information, transparency and accountability are stifled or completely curtailed in order to safeguard the interests of those in power.

MISA Zambia has for the past 20 years held media awards to promote media excellence and professionalism in the county. This year, a total of twenty-one (21) journalists were awarded and these included;

 MISA SPONSORED CATEGORIES

Platinum Award

Jubilee Malambo

Prime TV-Mansa

Golden Print

Winner : Jack Jacob Zimba

Institution: Zambia Daily Mail

Golden TV

Winner : Virginia Chilongo

Institution: Muvi TV

Golden Radio

Winner: Dominic Bikale

Institution: ZNBC (Kaonde section)

Golden Online Media

Winner: Christopher Chisi

Institution:5 FM

Golden Community Media

Winner  : Aphius Kaputula

Institution: Muvi TV

SPONSORED CATEGORIES

Best Reporting Social Protection Sponsored by PSPF

Print

Winner: Linda Mupemo

Institution: ZANIS Milenge

Television

Winner: Zipporah Mushala

Institution: Camnet TV

Radio

Winner: Lukundo Nankamba

Institution: Radio Phoenix

Best Reporting National & Natural Resources Management sponsored by Diakonia Zambia

Print

Winner: Ndangwa Mwittah

Institution: Zambia Daily Mail

Online

Winner: Cynthia Nkhata

Institution: African Women in Media

Television

Winner: Christopher Bazilio Banda

Institution: Prime TV

Radio

Winner: Bibian Lambart Mwale

Institution: Radio Christian Voice

Best Reporting Gender sponsored by NGOCC

Print

Winner: Ndangwa Mwittah

Institution: Zambia Daily Mail

Electronic

Winner: Monica Baidoo

Institution: Flava FM

AMR champion journalist award sponsored by Otridah Kapona

Winner: Lucy Nambela

Institution: Capital FM

Best Reporting Child Rights Governance sponsored by PANOS

Print

Winner: Dorothy Chisi

Institution: Times of Zambia

Electronic

Winner: Justina Matandiko

Institution: Radio Ichengelo.

Outstanding Buy Local Campaign sponsored by Buy Zed Campaign

Print

Winner: Violet Mengo

Institution: Zambia Daily Mail

Electronic

Winner: Joseph Phiri

Institution: ZNBC Radio 2

Best Reporting Intellectual Property sponsored by Partners Against Piracy

Winner:Christopher Chisi

Institution:5 FM

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.

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