Media Space in Zambia Shrinking – Chavula

By Staff Reporter

The Media Owners Association of Zambia says the government should allow the media to operate freely without any intimidation as it is key to the country’s development.

Association president Oscar Chavula, said in Choma during the 2018 World Press Freedom Day commemorations on Thursday under the theme Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law, that media practitioners had continued to face injustices at the hands of political players.

Chavula said this is evident by the physical attacks on media houses and harassment of individual journalists from both the private and public media in the recent past.

“Media space in the country is shrinking and the government needs to take necessary steps, such as enacting the Access to Information Bill so as to enable the media freely check those in power and ensure that justice and the rule of law prevail,” he said. “I am challenging Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Dora Siliya to ensure that the Access to Information Bill is tabled in the next session of parliament as directed by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu earlier this year through his press aide, Amos Chanda.”

Chavula said this year’s World Press Freedom Day theme of keeping power in check would be impossible to achieve as long as the media industry continues to face harassment from political parties and those in power whilst operating under draconian laws that hinder it from questioning their conduct and decisions.

And Southern Province minister Dr Edify Hamukale described the media as an important partner to government as it helped foster development.

He however, cautioned the media against irresponsible reporting.

“It would be difficult for government to function well without the press. It is important to appreciate the role played by journalists as they are at the core of information dissemination to people on various issues,” said Hamukale. “I am cautioning the press to be responsible in the way they disseminate information on social media. They should always give the right information. There is need for the media to avoid disseminating alarming statements to members of the public online as it has the potential to bring about confusion.”