Opinion

OPINION: Violence against Journalists

The police in Eastern Province over the weekend arrested two PF officials, the youth chairman William Phiri and treasurer Zephenia Mwale, for threatening journalists at Chipata’s Radio Maria last week. However, the two were released yesterday after the Church withdrew the matter.

The PF cadres last week threatened violence on Radio Maria news editor and other journalists after a radio programme which discussed the ruling party’s intra-party elections. But these threats annoyed President Edgar Lungu who, without hesitation, issued instructions to the police to arrest the PF cadres and deal with them sternly as he is a believer in press freedom. In the same vein, the Head of State instructed the police to also arrest PF cadres that threatened violence and harassed journalists at Power FM in Kabwe when they featured opposition NDC consultant Chishimba Kambwili.

Based on the Head of State’s orders, the police acted in Eastern Province and arrested two ruling party officials over the threats on journalists. Although the police have released the two officials, the efforts to arrest the perpetrators of violence are still commendable. This is what the police should be doing without any hesitation. Already, the Head of State wondered why the Inspector General, Kakoma Kanganja, did not move to ensure that those using the party’s name to commit crimes are brought to book. In fact, the bigger indictment is on the police in Eastern and Central provinces where these crimes were committed. The fact that journalists in these two areas were threatened was in public domain the moment the harassment took place. But nothing was done until the President spoke about it, condemned the act and ordered the arrest of the perpetrators of the wrongs.

We are happy that the Head of State, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services and the Independent Broadcasting Authority all weighed in heavily to strongly condemn this harassment. To us, this shows some commitment towards promotion of a free press and the rights of journalists in the discharge of their duties.

Nobody has the right to threaten journalists, regardless of their political affiliation. The practice of journalism is a noble calling that deserves a lot of respect. Remember, journalists belong to the fourth estate, which is a critical component in any democracy. Without the media, Zambia will cease to be a democracy. This is a fact that President Lungu, obviously, holds dear hence his quick response to the harassment and violence on journalists at the two radio stations. There is no exception when it comes to the provision of information and this is a responsibility that all journalists have taken up at a very great risk as they face tremendous threats from all angles.

Like President Lungu has done, we expect leaders of the opposition political parties to also strongly condemn attacks on journalists usually perpetrators by their cadres against journalists from public media institutions such as ZNBC, Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and others. What politicians must realise is that they will need these journalists at any point, whether in opposition or ruling party. This is why it is important that they both allow free operations of the media without harassment, violence or intimidation.

19 Comments

  1. kayilore

    Thanx to the President for taking action, but men in uniforms should the one who suppose to do first before our President, changamukani ba police it’s yo obligation please.

  2. Jms

    This impairs to mvtv its shame please let us not forget that these two provinces namely Northern and Eastern you have to be careful because we will give it a stereotype that you all bad practising bad behaviors some other tribes when the fight have reasons but you two its unbelievable please educate children how to stay in this beautiful country of ours I know no one will allow culprits go free but those will come out and be given same posts and start what they were doing its unacceptable

  3. Jms

    Kayilore what you have said is untrue and unfair please learn to see where one was wrong or right by saying the truth the truth will set you free although you persecute someone i don’t care because the only thing is that the truth will set you free from being harmed twice

  4. Lk

    Now we had to wait for the President’s interference. Still the police are not Free

  5. haram

    some cops lost employment in sesheke for maintaining peace and order.

  6. One love

    Police fear cadres becoz cadres they have direct lines to……….they fear to eat chibwabwa without cooking oil.

  7. Jonas

    What of the suspects killers of Kasongo and those who insulted Dr chishimba kambwili and the minister attending personal court sessions no action taken

  8. Jonas

    Arrest the killers of Kasongo

  9. LM

    Kwena mwebantu mulasumina ukutumfiwa. Bushes kateka eufwile ukulaeba bakapokola ukwikata abantu mwa? Ici cilangilefye ukuti bakapokola tabakwata amaka yakwikata Ba cadre kano basuminishiwa na kateka ngefifine cili. Muletasha na kateka at I ebutungulushi busuma. Abena Zambia bupofu bwekabweka, MULEILUKA!

    • C k

      Comment L M You are 100% correct, only cadres who are uneducated , shallow minded ,tribelists can disagree with you. Luanshya issue is quite where there was death . Leadership will be shown and proved if arrests are done in luanshya. MULEILUKA IFINTU .ALA BWALICA

  10. Nacked moncky

    Zambian police officers are very week all they know is to arrest innocent people and getting full salaries without any work done, if not so why these people fear to arrest those pf Gvmt officials who violet the Constitution of our country.

  11. Jms

    LM don’t bring embranchment among bemba speaking people as you are using bemba speaking language you are wrong in your thinking and Nacked Mocnky a child is weakened by such parents who don’t have whom to support because the have maybe their origin while neglecting whom they should protect I THINK ITS TRUE AS SOME SAY WE LACK knowledge

  12. Herv Rena

    Kanganja must resign,why wait for instructions before acting?

  13. Kapunda

    Y realising them?

  14. P.K. Phiri

    Comment
    The problem with the cadres is lack of information which usually leads them to act contrary to the law. It amazes me to see how much power they wield. We,as Zambians,need information-which is power. Information is an active ingredient to catapult a developing nation such as ours to sustainable development and economic prosperity. Life should never be politicized.Infact, politics is a minute chunk of life. I have got a premonition; if these cadres are allowed to act with impunity as such,we will fail to contain them one day. I speak as a non-partisan patriotic citizen.

  15. Kings

    Annoyed Who Iwe Phiri, Don’t Be Stupid With Your Reporting, We Have No One To Protect Us In Our Nation, Only We Look To God. He Was Not Annoyed When Kasongo Was Hit With An Iron Bar By Known People, But You Are Reporting That He Was Annoyed For Cadres To Want To Harm Jouralists At Radio Maria, What Really Annoyed Him Because His Cadres Were Just Excuting Their Duties? Is He For The People Or Some People Him To Be So Bias? The Police Now Work Under Instructions From The President, Then Zambia Is Finished, And Thats Why Kbf Says Lungu Should Step Down, He Has Seen.

  16. chibesa

    media has no freedom as well as police officers.dont blame officers be careful.u know y the officers are nt active dont pretend pliz.only God will set us free time will come ltes continue praying for zambiá.

  17. Cornelius mbambo

    if it’s true that HH did still from Zambian why is our POLICE, ACC do not arrest him even the president said it but still no arrest have been made who is saying the truth can the police arrest HH so that the people of Zambia can know how HH did still our money. POLICE, ACC were are you

Comments are closed.