MISA CONDEMNS THE HARASSMENT OF JOURNALISTS IN KITWE BY ZAMBIA POLICE
LUSAKA – MISA Zambia has received with sadness, the report of harassment of journalists during the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) press briefing which was held in Kitwe this morning.
Information reaching MISA Zambia indicates that armed Police officers harassed the journalists who were covering the EFF press briefing by forcing them to delete the pictures and videos they took while other journalists had their gadgets like phones and cameras confiscated citing that the press briefing was an illegal meeting because the EFF party leader did not obtain a permit to hold the gathering.
MISA Zambia has found this to be uncalled-for act as intimidating and hindering Freedom of speech which is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation.
In a democratic country like Zambia, democracy allows the people a voice in charting the course of their government and their future. Therefore, as an organization that advocates for media freedom and Freedom of expression, we would like to remind all government leaders, police officers, and political cadres that, freedom of expression gives anyone, the right to hold their own opinions and to express themselves freely without interference.
However, when contacted for a comment, Zambia police spokesperson Rea Hamoonga informed MISA Zambia that all gargets that were confiscated were given back to the journalists after the screening.
MISA Zambia holds the media in high esteem as it is the fourth estate that provides checks and balances in the country hence, the Zambia Police is urged to treat them as a stakeholder in the development of the nation.
We therefore call on Police to desist from carrying out acts of censorship and intimidation against the media. Police are supposed to uphold human rights including freedom of expression, especially that it is enshrined in the Constitution. We understand that it is the duty of police to maintain law and order but they should not prevent citizens and the media from enjoying their democratic rights while doing so.
Mrs. Lorraine Mwanza Chisanga
Chairperson – MISA Zambia