By CAROLINE KALOMBE
MISSION Press director Father MihaDrevensek allegedly hijacked the World Press Freedom Awards yesterday after he gave MISA Zambia K5 million to award Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections executive director Father Pete Henriot and former Change Life Zambia executive director Father Frank Bwalya.
The two priests were awarded the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zambia Excellence Recognition Awards.
Informed sources said in Lusaka yesterday that Father Miha gave MISA Zambia the money because the organisation failed to raise enough money for the event.
But World Press Freedom Day organising committee chairperson Amos Chanda said he was not aware of the awards presented by MISA Zambia during the Press Freedom Day celebrations until the moment they were presented.
He said MISA wanted to use the celebrations as a platform to award its own people.
“I was not aware of the awards and I only got to learn about them when they were being presented,” Mr Chanda said.
He said MISA Zambia has a relationship with Father Miha and he used the media body to award the two priests.
“It is MISA which has a relationship with FrMiha, so they should know more about the K5 million given to them,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said MISA Zambia is better placed to explain why the awards were allegedly hijacked.
Mr Chanda said the organising committee had enough funds to host the celebrations as government provided K20 million through the ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.
“Government gave us K 20 million and UNICEF gave us US$3,000 to award the deserving journalists, which went to Thomas Nsama from The Post,” Mr Chanda said.