Home 9 News 9 Media Freedom, Freedom of Expression has improved; Slow Law Reforms, Cadres and Security Wing Blemish Canvas

Media Freedom, Freedom of Expression has improved; Slow Law Reforms, Cadres and Security Wing Blemish Canvas

15 Aug, 2023
...cadres that had violated media freedom in the last two years, have not appeared in court. This is a source of concern.
For Immediate Release: 15 August, 2023
As the country commemorates the United Party for National Development (UPND)’s two years anniversary in government, MISA Zambia is happy to note that media freedom and freedom of expression improved with it hovering around an average of 50% according to our scientific reports.
Further, MISA Zambia noted that some critical laws were amended and these included the death penalty and the defamation of the president clause in the Penal Code. Many journalists and political figures have been arrested in various regimes using the defamation law and hence its repeal is a major milestone towards media freedom and freedom of expression in Zambia.
Additionally, key state institutions including the Zambia Police and Judiciary were at hand to protect media freedom in key cases which involved a journalist in Eastern province and another one in Lusaka. The two were attacked at different periods while on duty. Both institutions acted to protect media freedom and these milestones are vital to deterring would be violators of media freedoms.
Moreover, another prime milestone is the increased media engagement between the President; Mr Hakainde Hichilema and the media. The President has featured on several private media interview fora. This is in addition to inclusion of journalists from private media houses on presidential trips and extension of invitations to civil society to attend state functions.
While, there are several of these developments, we note that no media house has been closed and a TV station that was shutdown in the previous government resumed operations under your regime.
Another positive development is the fact that the President has continued to state his commitment to allow the media to regulate themselves which is key to media freedom.
However, acts of cadre violence and censorship began to increase in these two years. This was in addition to seven journalists being detained during their line of duty. Suffice to say, the latter has not repeated itself following MISA Zambia engaging the relevant security wing.
Another sad incident regards media freedom and freedom of expression is the slow law reforms pace. Among laws pending enactment include the Access to Information Bill while the review of broadcast laws also yearns for action. There is need to amend the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Act for it to be a true public service broadcaster. Equally, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act has to be amended to make it more autonomous and effective in regulating the ZNBC.
Other laws that require repeal or further amendments include the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act and the Penal Code respectively.
Lastly, cadres that had violated media freedom in the last two years, have not appeared in court. This is a source of concern. Suffice to say, Zambia is largely enjoying freedom of expression and media freedom save for the stated areas of concern that impact the full enjoyment of this right including limited state advertisement in private media and tolerance towards criticism which at times has been met by state heavy handedness.
Issued by:
Rev. Fr. Barnabas Simatende, OMI, (PhD)
MISA Zambia Board Chairperson
Contact: Phone Number: 0979902455
Email : lifeisgoodregardless@gmail.com

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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