By Given Mutinta
President Michael Sata wants his government to swiftly draft legislation to regulate internet journalism. It is unarguable that rules and ethics are critical in encouraging professional journalism. However, it is very clear that his motive is to find a way of fracturing down on internet journalism that has been a thorn in the flesh to him for his infuriating tribalistic and corrupt tendencies in appointing leaders.
President Sata can crackdown on interment journalism but that is not the same as changing his political course enlivened by incorrigible loyalty to his own tribe. President Sata is like a pathological and irredeemable tribalist. His sense of right and wrong seems to be both dead and rotten and this appears to explain why he has continued to appoint corrupt leaders. It is difficult to understand how he is allergic to corruption when each single action he takes is short of everything except tribalism and corruption. The president seems not to be aware thatZambiahas come to a stage where people know exactly what they want and how it can be achieved and the type of leaders who can help them achieve it.
President Sata can go as far controlling the cyberspace by either owning all the country’s internet service providers or controlling the companies that provide internet access or by allowing ownership of internet service providers by his cronies or controlling online access to information through firewalls or use electronic surveillance or by requiring users to register with government or even controlling access to the world wide web by opening and running the cafes, even this will not silence the voices of peace and justice for all.
It is clear that the government wants to gradually make it difficult for journalists to expose it to open and critical scrutiny as it exercises its powers. This can seriously offend internet journalism. Without the critical public watchdog role of internet journalism President Sata will go on with his nauseating tribalistic and frailing leadership.
The President is misguided if he thinks internet journalism regulations will make all people join media houses that are eating with him on the table of tribalism and corruption and are singing praises to him even when he is making historic and grave blunders in the governance of our country. Regulations that hamper internet journalism have no place in a democratic society especially when the motive is to silence particular forums and people who hold different views on how our country in the 21st Century should be developed and governed.
Regulations aimed at cracking down on internet journalism are a form of media oppression. Even when subjected to horrendous regulations we should remain ‘unbendable’ as ever to bring to the attention of the Zambian people evidence of tribalism and corruption.
We should not tail off from informing the public, encouraging socialisation through news, acting as national forums, servicing the political system and reporting and analysing all issues that affect us without fear and favour. This is one sure way of making it easy to investigate tribalism and corruption and then take appropriate actions.
Let us say no to the crackdown on internet journalism because it is an attack on our democracy.