MEDIA Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia National Director Hewitt Chizyuka has condemned the intimidation, beating and the unnecessary arrests of media personnel in the nation.
Mr.Chizyuka further condemned threats to close down some media houses that offer a platform for critical voices.
He said the ambiguous and restrictive laws such as those dealing with pornography need to be reviewed and clearly redefined.
He was speaking at a certificate presentation ceremony to members of the board and management of SKY F.M Radio at the end of a four day management training workshop in radio and good governance, organized by MISA Zambia held at Southern Comfort Motel in Monze yesterday.
Mr.Chizyuka expressed worry that the operating environment for the media was still harsh in the country with increasing cases of harassment and violence against Journalists, adding that the situation may get worse.
He called on government to openly condemn the harassment of the media and demonstrate commitment to that effect by dropping unfair charges and court cases against media personnel.
“We realize that a vibrant, free and diverse media is at the very fabric of democratic governance and we stand to continue promoting media freedom,” said Chizyuka.
In the same vain, Chizyuka urged all political parties to refrain their cadres from harassing media personnel.
He expressed concern about the none implementation of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act and Zambia National Broadcasting Amendment Act.
Mr.Chizyuka said the two laws would help improve the independence and impartiality of broadcasting in the country.
“There is no justifiable reason why these two acts cannot be operationalized, because we all know that a free and more independent public broadcaster is guaranteed under the ZNBC Amendment Act while the IBA Act would be meant to enhance the independence of the entire broadcasting sector,” he said.
Mr.Chizyuka questioned why ZNBC continued being under the control of government when the law stated otherwise and why the Ministry of Information continued controlling the broadcasting industry when the IBA Act stated that an independent body should do so.
He said these were serious questions that need urgent answers if Zambia is to claim to be among the democratic and civilized nations that respect the rule of law.