Obviously enemies of online media and particularly the Watchdog are disappointed that the story that President Michael Sata has been assassinated was not carried by any Zambian website.
On Sunday, someone, maybe a government operative, altered Sata’s biography on Wikipedia and entered new information that he died on Sunday after taking a single but fatal shot.
Now, Wikipedia is not a Zambian online publication. It is not even a news website.
It is an information website that anyone can edit and post whatever information they want.
The website is hosted in USA but can be edited even from Lundazi.
The particular entry about Sata on Sunday appears to have been done in the United Kingdom.
Here we must again emphasise that the posting would have been ignored and the whole world would not have known about it had it not been for the emotional and childish reaction from State House.
But there was a sinister and dangerous motive by the PR team at State House after seeing that entry.
George Chellah and his friends at State House put together a press statement that was aimed at targeting online publications in Zambia. Deliberately, State House omitted to mention that the entry was on Wikipedia and not on any website that writes news about Zambia.
The idea was to give the impression that the story was published on Zambian websites especially the Watchdog.
That is what most people thought after hearing the emotional and childish reaction from state House. We have received emails and other communication asking us when we published that story.
State House’s behaviour was clearly designed to promote hatred and anger against us by president Sata’ supporters.
We wonder what would have happened if PF cadres knew where to find us.
But that is what happens when people live in fear of their own shadows. They are always imagining that their perceived enemies are plotting against them.
We are also disappointed by Home Affairs minister Kennedy Sakeni, a person who we have some respect for.
Why should Sakeni direct the police to pursue wind? Sakeni knows that chasing a Wikipedia entry is a nonstarter and waste of public money. The only beneficiary will be those police officers who will get travel and other allowances. But if that is a priority of his government, let him proceed.
But even on this windfall cash, the ordinary policeman will not benefit. It will be the usual senior officers who will travel and shop in London.
There are things the PF government should learn to ignore. Of course such sensational behaviour by senior government leaders has other motives. They help divert attention from real issues.
Now every Jim and Jack who wants to be noticed is lining up at PF radio stations and newspapers with a press statement condemning ‘those wishing Sata death’.
Please, can we be serious as a nation for once
There are more important things we can spend our money and time on.
And why is Fackson Shamenda summoning editors of media houses in Zambia? Do they have anything to do with Wikipedia? Or is Shamemda not happy that the newspapers and PF radio stations publicised the emotional and childish statement from State House?
We really do not understand the reasoning by Shamenda.
The PF government should accept that the Internet is here to stay. The Online media is growing in both popularity and influence. More and more people nowadays get news from the online publications. This is not just in Zambia. It’s a worldwide movement. The PF regime should realise that intimidation, threats or even locking up journalists cannot and will never put an end to online media. If anything, such despotic measures just make online media even more popular.
The PF should embrace online media and use it to explain their programmes, if they have any instead of waiting in a queue to condemn the next item on the Internet.
But then, we are only saying. Let those who have the mandate of the people do things the way they see them fit. But since we are stakeholders in the entity called Zambia, we shall always comment and express our opinions.
In this life, things change. What is today may not be tomorrow. Again, we are only saying. As small people, we are nothing.