Don’t Settle For Out Of Court Against Chiengi Mp For Press Freedom Violation

Given Katuta


…. as this would not deter future assailants

Lusaka… Thursday July 27, 2023 (SMART EAGLES)

The Bloggers of Zambia has called on Henry Chunza, a journalist from Times of Zambia Newspaper and the management not to withdraw the case against Chiengi Member of Parliament Hon Given Katuta and opt for monetary payment in preference for out of court settlement.

Bloggers of Zambia Chief Executive Officer Richard Mulonga says as this would not deter future assailants.

Mr. Mulonga says his organization’s position is that Hon Katuta’s physical attack on an unarmed and defenceless journalist is not only a shame on her, but it a criminal attack on press freedom and an affront to the broader democracy.

“We would like to offer our solidarity and support to the impending prosecution of Chiengi Member of Parliament (MP) Given Katuta for assaulting a journalist, Henry Chunza. This case is a matter of public interest and we call upon Mr Chunza and the management of Times of Zambia newspaper not to withdraw the case and opt for monetary payment in preference for out of court settlement as this would not deter future assailants,” said Mr. Mulonga.

“We congratulate the Zambia Police Service for acting swiftly and arresting the MP and in view of this, take note of our interest in the matter. We urge all journalists and media bodies to stand in solidarity in addition to participating in trial monitoring for transparency and accountability purposes.”

He said the Chiengi MP has exhibited unpalatable and disgraceful behaviour that does not befit the standards and decorum of a lawmaker.

“Members of Parliament as legislators are expected to be
makers of laws and policies that promote media development but the MP has an appetite for perpetrating a culture of lawlessness, violence and attacking press freedom. We are confident in the Zambia Police Service and the judicial system that Ms Katuta will receive a fair trial and that she will be made accountable for the unwarranted attacks on Zambia’s democracy,” he added.

“We would like to remind Zambians that all citizens are equal before the law and that individuals who attack journalists must be made accountable for their actions and as such, Ms Given Katuta’s successful prosecution should serve as a deterrent to would be offenders, including other MPs who assisted in assaulting Mr Chunza within the grounds of the National Assembly of Zambia. Additionally, we would like to encourage all media bodies and other interested stakeholders to join the campaign for a free press and prioritizing the safety and protection of journalists realising that journalism is the cornerstone of democracy.”


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