For Immediate Release
LUSAKA, Thursday, November 2, 2023 – On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in 2023, MISA Zambia is calling on various stakeholders including government to address the safety of journalists who are vulnerable to harassment and attacks.
The media constitutes the fourth pillar of democracy. Globally, media freedom is a constituent part of freedom of expression. The role of the media is vital in generating a democratic culture that allows citizens to participate in the governance processes in a given country and hold leaders accountable. Therefore, a free and independent media is the foundation of any democratic society because it fosters the public’s right to know and demand their rights.
In Zambia today, despite the positive developments; journalists, editors and media houses continue to be victims of repression. Journalists are restricted by economic, political and legal pressures such as licensing systems which restrict the opportunity to publish/broadcast to wider audiences due to frequency limitation when it comes to radio and due to cost when it comes to television.
To strengthen an enabling environment for new and independent media, MISA Zambia conducts media monitoring to register media freedom and digital rights violations. Despite positive pronouncements by the government on media freedom, we have recorded cases of concern that have the potential to intimidate the media in the country.
Since January 2023, MISA Zambia recorded 10 cases of concern about the safety of journalists. These cases were graded as ‘severe’ in nature and involved the violation of Freedom of Expression, Assault, and Threats. We hope that as we commemorate this day, some of the areas of concern will be addressed.
MISA Zambia believes that Journalism is not a crime. We demand justice for all journalists, our messengers, who have been persecuted for merely doing their work.
We appeal to both public and private stakeholders to refrain from harassing the media and accord them sufficient space within which they can operate and carry out their work freely.
The ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.