UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema says the thuggish behaviour by PF officials of intimidating, disrupting and closing of media houses that carry alternative views is totally unacceptable and an assault to Zambia’s cherished media freedoms and freedom of expression.

Mr Hichilema whose phone in radio programme on Muchinga Radio Station in Chinsali was almost interrupted today by PF cadres says it is not his fault that PF leaders fail to engage citizens through regular press briefings and interactions with media houses, because they have run out of ideas.

“In our case, we view it as a patriotic duty to engage our citizens through various media platforms on a regular basis in order to appreciate their daily challenges and chart a way forward with them”, he said.

Mr Hichilema said furthermore, these media houses have equally not been spared by the current economic hardships Zambians are all experiencing.

He said this is why out of their own volition, UPND elect to pay for radio programmes as a way to sustain their operations in terms of emoluments, equipment maintenance and payments to various statutory bodies such as ZRA, NAPSA, IBA among others.

Mr Hichilema who had his programme canceled by a District Commissioner in Mpika said ordinarily, media houses are supposed to feature all players for free, but UPND has taken the pleasure to pay, because they fully understand the challenges they go through.

He said it is therefore absolutely unacceptable for PF officials and thugs to meddle in the operations of these media houses because in the end it denies them the much needed resources which they use to keep their businessess afloat.

Mr Hichilema said if left unchecked, this behaviour can lead to unemployment in the country among youths.

He has demanded that the Zambia Police immediately institute investigations and arrest the culprits and further urge the IBA to be impartial by ensuring all stakeholders are allowed to use the radiowaves without interruption from political thugs.


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