FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MLC CONDEMNS BEATING OF JOURNALISTS
Lusaka, 7 June 2013 – Chairperson of the Media Liaison Committee – Mickie Mumba – has described the incidence where suspected Patriotic Front cadres stormed Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) and assaulted the people who congregated to pray for Zambia, as unfortunate, uncivilized and barbaric. Suspected ruling party carders clobbered Church leaders, civil society and journalists last Friday when they met to pray for the country following the removal of maize and fuel subsidies.
Mr. Mumba said, “Such kind of barbaric behavior is uncalled for. The journalists who were caught up in the fracas were there simply to cover the event. It is uncivilized that people were attacked when, according to our constitution, they have the right to assemble. It is the job of journalists to cover events that are of national or public interest and it is their right to carry out this job safely. It must also be realised that Zambians have the right to express themselves, and being beaten for the exercise of this right is savagery”.
Mr. Mumba has called on the quick arrest of the culprits involved. “It is one week after the incident, and yet no body has been brought to book regarding the assault. We are calling on the authorities to hasten the arrest of the hooligans, so that they can serve as a warning to would-be perpetrators. It is unacceptable that journalists can be beaten at will by any member of the public. We are following the assurances given by Government and the Police with keen interest and that those who harm the hard working, but poorly paid journalists, are made to account for their sins,” said Mr. Mumba.
Mr. Mumba reminded the public that the 2013 theme for Press Freedom day – Safety of journalists and media workers applies to Zambia too. “This year’s world press freedom day theme applies to Zambia as well, unless we want to be cowed down and allow for Freedom of the press to be stumped upon by hooligans, but we will not do that. We wish to strongly condemn the beating,” said Mr. Mumba.
The institutions that make up the MLC are Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), Catholic Media Services (CMS), Zambia Union of Broadcasters and other Information Disseminators (ZUBID), Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Zambia, and the Press Freedom Committee (PFC) of The Post, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and Panos Institute Southern Africa.