By SP MCC Faston Mwale

Government’s intention to control online publications and podcasting is a move in a wrong direction. To put it plainly, the move is not only retrogressive, repressive and backward but it is also a negation of democratic governance and a value subtraction on efforts to foster the promotion of freedom of expression. It is inconceivable that in this day and age, government is flirting with the idea to amend the Independent Broadcasting Act with a view to introduce podcast regulation and limiting online publication. The move must be energetically opposed because it offends the freedom of expression.

It is sufficiently clear that the beleaguered United Party for National Development government does not want people to talk about the mediocre governance that has plunged the country into an abyss of crises.

The looming hunger, poverty, the crippling loadshedding, the bane of leadership crisis, the escalating cost of living crisis are among the common themes of public conversation today and citizens must be guaranteed unihibited physical or digital space in which to articulate their views and perspectives on matters of common concen. Laws exist that could deal with any perceived infractions.

Today, there is a huge plethora of laws that inhibit the liberties of free expression. Instead of creating a climate of free speech, draconian pieces of law have only served to evoke an atmosphere of fear, docility, servility and subserviency. The cyber security and cybercrimes Act of 2021 is one of them.

As a consequence of the forgoing, a climate in which it is far more difficult to offer constructive criticism but in which it is a lot easier to praise and deify leaders has proliferated. This retrogressive state of affairs must be questioned and challenged by progressive minds. It is not easy, for example, to talk about the growing spate of corruption involving those in the upper layers of government without factoring a probable invitation to the police station for a harrowing quiz.

Attempts to enact new legislation or modifying the existing acts to purposely cure the systematized delusions of fear of the UPND government must be ruled out of order. The best remedy for the UPND is to develop the capacity to rationally handle rational criticism rather than seeking to concoct legislation against freedom of expression. The era of paternalistic politics in which leaders were idolized and fetishized as demigods is gone and gone beyond return. Leaders must be held accountable to their word. Progressive minds in parliament, ruling and opposition must coalesce and robustly repudiate any attempt to enact pieces of legislation designed to limit justifiable criticism of government.


  1. How do you oppose regulations you have not yet seen? Let the word and spirit of the regulations appear in print and study them. Only then would any open-minded person take a position either to support them or oppose them.

  2. Plunged the country in looming hunger, poverty and load shedding?
    Ba Mmembe sometimes avoid sounding like a broken record.
    1. Hunger: you know it is not due to poor policies BUT drought which is a natural calamity BUT. even so, A tour by Hon Mweetwa just in Southern Province 3 FRA Depots we saw Choma, Kalomo.& Dudumwezi sheds with stacks of grain.
    2. Poverty: Watch CDF program see how families and cooperatives are getting empowerment loans.
    3: Load shedding: is not failure on energy policies BUT natural calamity (drought) blame God if you are a confused human being NOT UPND. Has Mmembe heard of the strides regarding solar grid long term and importation from Moçabeque as short term?
    Matako panshi bane!!!

  3. Sometimes I fail to understand how some people think. Surely people should know that there is no such thing as absolute freedom anywhere in the world so I don’t know what the fuss is about regarding the proposal by government to bring regulations for online media like podcasts. Do people want to do whatever they want without any consequences even it infringes against other people just because it is done using podcast? Laws and regulations are there bring order in the ways are done and protect people who may become victims of abuse by those not following regulations. That’s is not to say government should stifle people’s freedoms but order is very important if people are to enjoy their democratic rights so it’s important to find the right balance.

  4. Yes there needs to be accountability in what is spewed out on social media. Some of the content are pure lies, malice, insults and victims have no recourse. This toxicity that thives on hatred and character assassination to gain political or monetary not good for the nation. It is the sort of thing that led to Rwandan genocide and civil war.


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