MISA Zambia Statement on invasion of ZNBC

25 Nov 2014

We note with grief the invasion of ZNBC studios by Sports minister Chishimba Kambwili and Information Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo, together with other PF leaders, as confirmed by ZNBC Board Chairperson Dr. John Mulwila.

We are now 55 days away from the Presidential election and Mr. Kambwili is one of the aspirants seeking nomination to stand as PF president. However, his act is very disappointing and not exemplary. As someone seeking public office, one would expect him to lead by example in upholding and respecting media freedom and freedom of expression because it is vital to democratic growth and good governance.

It is unacceptable that 50 years after independence, government ministers like Mr Kambwili still find it befitting to muzzle the press.

Mr Kambwili and his team should not drag their political confusion to media houses, as the media is there to represent divergent views and report facts as they are; they should not expect the media not to report the confusion going on in their party because this party is seeking the vote of the citizen. It is a shame that Mr Kambwili’s behaviour is like that of a person who did not understand the role of the media.

As MISA Zambia we warn Mr Kambwili and other political cohorts to keep away from media houses as Media houses are not their mouthpieces; if they do, we shall begin to decampaign them.

As for Mr Kasolo the information permanent secretary, MISA Zambia expects him to protect the interest of his ministry, which is free and fair dissemination of information. ‘Take it easy as you settle in the ministry Mr Kasolo.

We are concerned with Mr Kambwili’s continued intimidation of the media.  Mr Kambwili and his cohorts have exhibited arrogance and immaturity towards the media and this action is an affront to media freedom.

The invasion of the newsroom and intimidation of staff at ZNBC amounts to raping of the freedom of expression and editorial independence. Mr. Kambwili’s action also amounts to criminal trespass because he had no authority to enter the premises. It is for this reason that we call upon the police to arrest and prosecute the minister as there is already vivid evidence.

As a media body championing freedom of expression, which is a fundamental human right, we would like to commend Dr. Mulwila’s stance to publicly rebuke Mr. Kambwili and his cohorts and we urge both the board and management at ZNBC to ensure that divergent views were accommodated.

Hellen Mwale

Chairperson  – MISA Zambia

25 November 2014

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