PAZA explains MoU with Post, says Richard Sakala is an ex-convict

The Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) says there is no amount of money fixed to its Memorandum of Understanding with the Press Freedom Committee of the Post.

And PAZA says the MoU does not mean that only PAZA can receive from the PFCP but that even PAZA can contribute to PFCP and other media associations.

PAZA president Andrew Sakala said in Lusaka today that there are records to show that PAZA has also donated to other organisations.

There has been accusations that PAZA gets a K10 million grant from the Post every month.

Home Affairs minister Mangani has joined the accusations and has called for a probe into the operations of  PAZA.

But PAZA president Sakala says the attacks on PAZA will not make the association change its position on many issues including media regulation discussion and the position is that PAZA stands for the non statutory self regulation and no amount of attacks will sway us.

Early this week former state house spokesperson Richard Sakala also attacked the MoU but PAZA says Richard Sakala is an ex-convict who can’t be recognised as a PAZA member

Below is the full statement issued by PAZA at Lusaka’s ZAMCOM Lodge by PAZA president Andrew Sakala:

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBIA PRESIDENT ANDREW SAKALA AT ZAMCOM LODGE, LUSAKA

Thursday, 14th January 2010

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We have called this press briefing to address a wide range of issues raised by some hired political mercenaries, some misguided politicians and an ex-convict Richard Sakala, who have commented on internal matters of PAZA which they hardly understand. Richard Sakala has never been a member of PAZA since 1991 and even if he was, he would have been expelled at a time of his conviction because the felonies for which he was convicted contravene the PAZA code of conduct.

The attacks on PAZA began with wild allegations by one Gregory Chifire and backed up a day later by Edwin Lifwekelo. These two individuals are well known political charlatans who we shall not waste time on. Additionally PAZA has conclusive information about an individual sponsoring these rented mouths to hold his mission of scandalizing other people through faceless documents.

It is surprising that a public document like the Carnival Agreement involving the MOU with the Post Freedom of Committee can be used to attack the leadership of PAZA.

It is public knowledge that the Carnival Agreement was made public and that at the time of signing the MOU, it was made public and published by the media.

The attacks on PAZA will not make the association change its position on many issues including media regulation discussion and the position is that PAZA stands for the non statutory self regulation and no amount of attacks will sway us.

We now turn to what we consider to be real issues that have triggered these hysterical reactions against the association for its role in persuading government to abandon the proposed draconian Media Bill 2009 which was se to be gazetted last month.

For the record, PAZA, and its partners in the Media Liaison Committee (MLC) have reached a settlement with government on self-regulation and we have since proceeded with steps towards the creation of an all-embracing mechanism within a reasonable time sometime this year.

It is shocking that these attacks come on the heels of this major landmark, which is why we are right in asserting that some people have made perpetual acrimony and tension an industry from which they scrap a living. This is dangerous. We must remove from our politics and public affairs in general this cancerous behaviour.

PAZA will continue to dialogue with government on the next steps on self-regulation and will not be distracted by these side-shows aimed at defeating a well-intended position of PAZA on the question of self-regulation.

Those with opposing views must simply state their position instead of making malicious insinuations about the operations of the association.

The Minister of Information Hon. Ronnie Shikapwasha informed us at a meeting with other media groups that he and the Vice-President were satisfied with the progress we are making on self-regulation and there would not proceed with the statutory process they had embarked on. Those seeking to disrupt this process are indeed mercenaries that politicians must not entertain.

Annual General Meeting

At our end-of-year briefing on 30th December 2009 at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, we announced that PAZA will hold its general meeting in November to elect a new leadership. We explained the expiry of our elective mandate in 2007 and why the lack of funds had delayed elections. We again make this announcement and appeal to well-wishers to help with the mobilization of funds.

Relationship with the Press Freedom Committee of the Post

PAZA and the Press Freedom Committee of The Post signed an MoU on 13th August 2006 to collaborate on mutually agreed areas on the defence and promotion of media freedom, freedom of expression, media literacy and media development among others.

The signing ceremony was widely covered in both state and private media institutions.

Records of these publications are available in all newsroom archives. There is no figure attached to this cooperation. Either party with capability at a given time is at liberty to help their partner. This happened in the past but in the last 15 months there has been no such financial cooperation between the two but what has been essential is the sharing of the platform to increase public debate.

Collaboration with other media groups

PAZA has provided grants to other associations such as the Zambia Women Media  Association and the Press Freedom Committee of the Post when need has arisen.

In our continued collaboration, we have also received funding from others such as PFC for specific activities as outlined in the MoU. Through this MoU, a number of activities have taken place jointly.

This year, PAZA is hosting other associations in the media liaison committee in preparing for the World Press Freedom celebrations on May 3 his year. As has been the tradition, these associations are expected to fund PAZA to carry out the activities that go with WPFD. PAZA will also provide funding towards these activities.

Grants received in the last one year

We have received grants from the following groups in the last one year:

Save the Children (Children radio programmes)

Ministry of Justice (good governance radio programmes)

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (World Press Freedom Day)

American embassy (self-regulation)

Panos Institute (self-regulation)

Comesa (Media Awards)

PFC (World Press Freedom Day preparations)

Osisa/MTF- constitutional-review submissions

Grants PAZA has given to sister groups

ZAMWA-Women’s Day

Media Liaison Committee press conference at 100 per cent

PFC (for media liaison activities)

Affiliate provincial press clubs (public debates and WPFD)

Thank you

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