MISA condemns attacks on Zambia’s 5FM Radio by Patriotic Front cadres
MISA Zambia condemns, in the strongest terms, the action by alleged Patriotic Front (PF) cadres in Lusaka Province for blocking Dr. Chishimba Kambwili from featuring on 5FM radio programme dubbed the ‘Burning Issue’.
The radio station had invited Dr. Kambwili to discuss the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party and the political landscape in Zambia on its radio programme.
As an institution that stands for media freedom and freedom of expression, we strongly condemn the attack on 5FM radio station and NDC Party Secretary General Mwenya Musenge. It is unfortunate that the said cadres blocked Dr. Kambwili and attacked Musenge who was there to merely trail the discussion.
We wish to put it on record that the action constitutes a violation of Dr. Kambwili’s rights to freedom of expression and the station’s media freedom which are key rights to safeguarding the country’s democracy and good governance.
We are further concerned that this incidence is not the first occurrence as we recorded a similar incident on 16th August, 2017 at Muchinga FM Radio in Chinsali District in the Northern province of Zambia, which received threats from some PF cadres after it featured Dr. Chishimba Kamwili on its Red-Carpet program which attracted a lot of attention and participation from the listeners.
After the station aired that particular episode of the Red-Carpet program, Muchinga FM station manager Martin Phiri, was summoned for questioning by Muchinga Province Police Commissioner, Patriotic Front (PF) Regional Office and the District Commissioner for Shiwangandu District.
Later, threats to burn down the radio station were issued by the Patriotic Front supporters after they stormed the radio station and warned the station against featuring people from the opposition political parties on its program.
It is our hope therefore that the Police will act professionally and objectively on the matter as reports indicate that government does not expect the police or media to act in favour of the ruling party but professionally.
We therefore demand that the culprits who disrupted the programme at 5FM Radio be arrested and brought to book like it happened to Chris Chalwe. We are cognisant that 5FM Radio is very near Central Police and we do not expect that the culprits would have escaped police.
Ms Hellen Mwale
MISA Zambia Chairperson