ZAMBIA Daily Mail Managing Director, Isaac Chipampe, was yesterday summoned and reprimanded by Parliament over what has been termed as “unprofessional, disrespectful and contemptuous” articles published by the newspaper in March this year.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini summoned Mr Chipampe to apologise to Mazabuka Central Member of Parliament (MP), Garry Nkombo (UPND), over stories carried by the newspaper in its editions of March 16 and March 18, this year.
The news articles in question were under the headlines; “Dressed Chicken goes to Parley,” “State puts Chickens debate to rest” and “Chickens Importation,” which aggrieved Mr Nkombo who subsequently lodged a complaint against the newspaper with the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly.
Quoting Section 3 of the National Assembly’s Powers and Privileges, Act, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia, Dr Matibini said:
“There shall be freedom of speech and debate in the Assembly. Such freedom of speech and debate shall not be liable to be questioned in any court or place outside the Assembly.”
The Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services recommended that the newspaper was disrespectful to Mr Nkombo and the House for referring to the MP’s conduct of laying a dressed chicken on the table of the House, as being dishonourable, appalling, indecent and totally unparliamentary.
The Speaker then directed the Sergeant-At-Arms to bring Mr Chipampe before the bar of the House.
Before hearing Mr Chipampe’s apology, Dr Matibini advised the media and the general public that absolute freedom of speech and debate enjoyed by Parliament was paramount.
Mr Chipampe then apologised to Mr Nkombo and the House saying: “in future, the Zambia Daily Mail will report in a more responsible and objective manner so as not to infringe on the rights of the members. I unreservedly apologise to Mr Nkombo and to this august House.”