Ms Joan Chirwa Founder - FPI Zambia


Saturday, February 12, 2022 – The Free Press Initiative (FPI) Zambia is appalled by the senseless utterances and threats on News Diggers! by UPND Kankoyo Member of Parliament Heartson Mabeta.

On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, Mr Mabeta made a very disturbing posting on his official Facebook page where he said News Diggers! will be closed the way The Post was closed. It is not surprising that we have leaders like Mr Mabeta in UPND who are ready to go out of line in defending wrongs and along the way discarding the promises made that their party will defend press freedom.

From his statement, it is clear that he’s among many functional illiterates who have deliberately chosen to ignore the good promises made by President Hakainde Hichilema that no media house will ever be threatened but given maximum space to practice independent journalism. Or should we take it that his statement is party position since no condemnation has been made so far?

The Post closure was and is still a very sad story that left deep wounds among the affected employees while others have died as a result.

So to find a leader like Mr Mabeta taking pleasure in threatening to close down another media organisation the way The Post was closed is inhumane and a way of killing a free and critical press in our country.

Zambia needs independent media to keep government in check.

We, therefore, urge Mr Mabeta to keep his mouth shut and his hands off the media and channel his energy to his political career, more so that he’s a novice in politics.

As for UPND secretary general Mr Batuke Imenda, who denied his own words, we appeal to him to own up and begin to apply caution in future when addressing sensitive matters so that he doesn’t accuse the media of quoting him out of context.

Meanwhile, the FPI has been following activities surrounding Lumezi Member of Parliament Mr Munir Zulu.
We urge Mr Zulu to leave The Mast to operate freely. His ranting against the newspaper and journalist Oliver Chisenga is uncalled for. As a lawmaker, he must by now fully understand the important role of the media in a democracy. If he does not, the FPI is ready to offer those lessons to him and his colleague Mr Mabeta whose behavior and attitude towards press is not so honorable.

FPI demands that this trend of harrassing and victimizing journalists by politicians ends forthwith. The media as a forth estate should be allowed to work independently, freely and professionally.

We advise these politicians to always remember that whether in opposition or in the ruling party, they need an independent and free media that will tell things as they are.

Issued by

Ms Joan Chirwa

Founder – FPI Zambia
No. 1 Chinunda Road, Woodlands, Lusaka Zambia
Contact No: +260 211 355449 | 0954 723936 Email:


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