Embarrassingly, the Zambia Union of Journalists, comprising of reporters from government controlled media, says journalists should not work with whistle-blowers to leak state documents. This is actually a journalist speaking???
ZUJ secretary general Angela Chishimba said the union is concerned that the Access to Information Bill might not be tabled before parliament
because Government feels some media institutions do not conduct responsible reporting.
“First, ZUJ agrees with Government concerns over too many leakages from Government institutions and wonders whether there is collusion between some government officers and some journalists, and if so, what is the motive of these journalists and Government officials,” she asked.
Ms Chsihimba said, “As ZUJ we feel the cure of leakages would in fact be the passing of the ATI which would allow free flow of information, barring that which borders on national security.”
Although, agreeing with Government concerns about continued leakages, ZUJ however feels the laws as they stand on media are inimical to press freedom as journalists may be arrested for leaking documents of any kind as long as they are marked “Secret”.
ZUJ, therefore, advises journalists to desist from colluding with Government officials to leak documents because they risk being arrested and exposing the country to security threats.
‘Much as we promote investigative journalism, journalists should know that they risk being sent to jail if they are caught,’ said Chishimba.
She continued: ‘It should also be noted that the advantages of the ATI being passed is not just to the advantage of journalists but of all Zambians and the country as a whole, therefore, this should not be torpedoed by a few journalists.
‘Therefore, let us be responsible by not allowing government to withdraw its intentions of taking the bill to parliament because of our actions as journalists.’
ZWD comment: poverty is really killing the media in Zambia. This is extremely embarrassing. This is the first time we are hearing such hogwash from a person representing journalists. If journalists can’t work, or collude as Chishimba puts it, with government whistleblowers to expose government secretes that are in public interest, then what should they do, wait for press statement from Amos Chanda? But then, what do you expect from Daily Mail? Has the government paid the salaries? We are sure if a whistle-blower gave Angela Chishimba documents revealing corruption in government, she would dash to the police to report the whistle-blower. Dear Angela, state secrets are the stuff proper journalism is made of. Didn’t anyone ever say that to you?