Zambia drops 20 points on world press freedom rankings as MISA rejects new information minister

Zambia has been ranked as one of the four worst violators of media freedom in Southern and East Africa.

And the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zambia) has rejected Zambia’s new minister of Information Chishimba Kambwili.

MISA Zambia chairperson Helen Mwale was quoted by local radio stations saying Kambwili has no respect for press freedom. Mwale called upon president Lungu to reverse the appointment and give the media a sober minded person. Mwale said Kambwili’s previous conduct with the media shows that he has no regard for the role of the media. Mwale said the appointment of Kambwili is a huge disappointment to the media.

The World Press Freedom index compiled by Reporters without Borders for 2015 shows that Zambia’s respect for press freedom has dropped 20 points from last year. The index shows that in terms of decline, Zambia has been the worst in the year assessed. Last year, Zambia was ranked number 93 out of 180 countries assessed. This year, Zambia has dropped 20 places and is now at number 113 out of 180 countries. According to the rankings, countries with smaller figures have better respect for media freedom and those with big numbers are the worst violators.

In the SADC and COMESA region, Zambia only performed better than Angola, Zimbabwe and Congo DRC, interestingly these are the countries the new president of Zambia Edgar Lungu is forging alliances with. Lungu has been to meet Mugabe and today is on his way to meet the rulers of Angola and Congo. Zambia also performed better than Swaziland.

All the other countries in the region such as Malawi, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa Uganda performed far much better than the country that claims to be more peaceful than others.

Namibia has been ranked the best performer in Africa.

Reporters without Borders, said although media offences have yet to be decriminalized, the Namibian constitution guarantees media freedom and there is a significant degree of pluralism, with five dailies, five weeklies, 12 monthlies, more than 20 commercial or community radio stations and three TV stations for a population of just 2 million. Although the state-owned media are not very critical, their editorial policies are not subject to any political interference.

Finland is number one on the world.



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