MISA Zambia wishes to note that online media have great potential of contributing to citizen participation and good governance in Zambia through instant, on demand access to information for informed decision making and freedom of expression.
This is in light of the internet boom arising from the increased number of citizens accessing the internet, with over four million mobile internet users in Zambia, further leading to the rise of internet journalism.
It is therefore important that online media users, specifically online journalists, exercise a high level of professionalism and always adhere to the bare minimums of journalism such as fairness, balance and objectivity.
It is our view that government should create a favourable environment for the enjoyment of online media freedom, the lack of which has previously led to the classification of the country as ‘not free’ on global press freedom indices.
Instances of blocking websites as was observed in the past years should be condemned and there should be dialogue and concerted effort towards the improvement of online platforms.
We believe, therefore, that the government through ZICTA as the operative body should embrace online media and help create policies that encourage increased local participation on the internet while upholding the principles of net neutrality such as universal access.
It is for this reason that MISA Zambia had chosen to highlight the importance of online media freedom by commemorating the Online Media week between Monday August 31st to Friday September 4th with various activities aimed at creating public awareness.
The commemoration week ran under the theme “Online Media Freedom for better citizen awareness” with several activities lined up such as online media exhibitions and meetings with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Information and broadcasting services.
We wish to call on all media freedom activists, civil society, government and other stakeholders to join in this noble commemoration for the betterment of the online media in Zambia.
Chairperson, MISA Zambia