PF government moves to gag journalists

PF government wants to indirectly introduce state regulation of media by directing that all journalists in Zambia must accredit with the Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS), a practice which was outlawed many years ago.

Journalists, including those from community radio stations have been given up to March as the deadline to pay accreditation fees and get press passes failure to which they shall not be allowed to cover any public functions.

But a source from ZANIS has disclosed that the move is aimed at blocking the media from covering the tripartite elections so that an opportunity to manipulate results can be created. Government also wants to make it difficult for investigative freelancers from attending functions as they are suspected to be working for media critic to government.

After the media was liberalized by late President Fredrick Chiluba, accreditation of local journalists was done away with and a self regulatory body Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) was crafted. The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) also regulates radio and TV houses.

With this requirement which has corruptly been endorsed by some media bodies, even untrained journalists from radio stations as far as Lukulu and Luapula province will need to get accreditted for them to cover government functions. But some journalists have vowed not to follow the directive and have threatened legal action as it is not backed by any law.

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