LUSAKA – MISA Zambia is concerned with the growing acts of targeting journalists on the line of duty by public officials all of which infringe on freedom of expression and press freedom.
It is disturbing that such actions which limit press freedom and rights of journalists have been on the rise in the country. The media operating environment is increasingly getting unduly restricted.
We are especially concerned that these attacks increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence. As MISA Zambia, we are saddened by such harassments as they create an unconducive working environment for the media to carry out their duties.
Wednesday 19th June, 2019 demonstrated once again the toxic nature and outsized reach of incitement against journalists, and we demand that it stop and strongly urges public officials to take firm steps to ensure accountability for violence and attacks against journalists.
On Wednesday two journalists from Byta FM Radio Joe Pandwe and Evans Liyali were harassed by a Mazabuka District Hospital senior official. The two journalists were allegedly verbally abused by the Mazabuka District Hospital Acting Superintendent Dr. Cosmas Chishimba when they went to confirm details about a woman who gave birth to triplets at the health facility.
Public officials should know that they hold public information on behalf of the people, therefore when members of the public demand for this information they should be given. They should not intentionally keep the people uninformed.
If Dr. Chishimba did not want to give the information to the journalists, he should have told them so and close the chapter as opposed to him harassing them.
Dr. Chishimba should know that the media represents the eyes and ears of the world and attempts to silence it through intimidation and harassment of journalists, is similar to making the world go blind and deaf.
We therefore demand an apology from Dr. Chishimba to be rendered to Byta FM Radio for the psychological trauma of its journalists.
We would therefore like to remind the general public that the media is not the enemy but rather a stakeholder in the development of the nation hence they should desist from harassing the media and allow them to operate freely.
We also urging members of the media fraternity to be professional in their work, vigilant and work together in ensuring their safety and security.
Chairperson – MISA Zambia