Opinion

Journalists’ Body in Zambia, Misa, Challenges President Sata on Oppressive Law

Following the arrest and subsequent two day detention of MMD leader Nevers Mumba in Zambia, the country’s biggest journalists’ representative body, Misa, is concerned that the PF government is using a draconian law to oppress fundamental human rights.

Acting Misa president Nalumino Nalumino says his organisation is concerned with the enforcement of the Public Order Act by the Zambia Police Service in the country.

Fundamental human rights such as those of assembly, association and speech have recently come under threat in Zambia with President Michael Sata using an archaic law of 1936 to clump down on dissenting views.

“It is sad that Zambia continues to be governed by archaic pieces of legislation whose objective is to deny citizens’ rights and freedoms to participate freely in the governance of their country.

“While we are aware that this freedom is not absolute, its application is undermining Zambiaís democratic gains. Further it is negating gains around transparency, accountability and good governance which Zambians fought for in 1991,” he stated.

Below is the full statement

Press Statement
12/12/12

MISA – Zambia Chapter expresses concern over enforcement of public order Act

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia would like to express concerns over the enforcement of the Public Order Act by the Zambia Police Service in the country.

The organisation is saddened that the Zambia Police Service is using a draconian piece of legislation to oppress the right of citizens to freedom of association, an essential component of freedom of expression and the right to information in Zambia. These rights are indispensible in a multiparty democratic society like Zambia because they facilitate the citizensí rights to participate in the governance of their country.

It is sad that Zambia continues to be governed by archaic pieces of legislation whose objective is to deny citizensí rights and freedoms to participate freely in the governance of their country.

While we are aware that this freedom is not absolute, its application is undermining Zambiaís democratic gains. Further it is negating gains around transparency, accountability and good governance which Zambians fought for in 1991.

Avram Noam Chomsky, an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer once said “if we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

We join our colleagues in civil society organisations in calling for the repeal of the Public Order Act in Zambia.

Nalumino Nalumino
Acting Chairperson- MISA Zambia

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