The International Press Institute (IPI) has appealed to the Zambian government to stop controlling the media and to recognize self-regulation of journalists.
Meeting at their Annual General Assembly on 13 September 2010 in Vienna, Austria, the IPI members unanimously adopted a resolution appealing to the Zambian government to relinquish its control of the media in that country.
“Despite the Zambian government‘s proclaimed commitment to press freedom, developments in the country indicate that the authorities are reluctant to accept the consequences of a free press which include criticism”, statement by the IPI states.
IPI also stated that “the state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, continues to be accountable to parliament and therefore lacks independence.”
IPI observed that Efforts by media stakeholders to create a voluntary, self-regulatory mechanism have stalled with the refusal of the government to recognize the Zambia Media Ethics Council.
IPI members resolved that it is important that any media self-regulation be voluntary, and as the African Commission of Human and Peoples‘ Rights has found, the best and only acceptable method of media regulation is through independent, voluntary, self-regulatory bodies that are free of parliamentary oversight.
IPI members call on Zambia‘s authorities to accept the Zambia Media Ethics Council and refrain from statutory regulation of the media. IPI members further call on the Zambian authorities to ensure that the public broadcaster is independent of government influence.