ZAMBIA POLICE HIGH COMMAND URGED TO RE-ORIENT THEIR OFFICERS ON THE IMPORTANT WORK THAT JOURNALISTS DO IN A DEMOCRATIC STATE
…. Association disturbed by harassment several Copperbelt journalists…..
11 December 2023, LUSAKA – The Media Owners Association of Zambia (MOAZ) is greatly disturbed by the uncalled for harassment of Flava FM, Hope TV and Yar FM Journalists , by Police officers during a press briefing in Kitwe Monday morning.
Information gathered by MOAZ is that, the said journalists were covering a press conference called by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) when officers stormed the venue and ordered that recordings are stopped and deleted.
One officer physically jostled with one of the reporters in a confrontation to delete whatever recording of the EFF leader she had done, saying the press briefing was an illegal gathering.
The officers further harassed the journalists with scornful remarks questioning why the media institutions they work for had allowed them to cover the press briefing in the first place and later on confiscated a camera.
The EFF leader was then whisked away to Riverside Police Station together with a journalist from Hope TV.
The Journalists have since described the ordeal as very disturbing and traumatizing.
MOAZ considers this affront on journalists as backward, uncalled for and unnecessary behaviour in a democratic country where officers are supposed to be in the forefront of protecting freedoms and lives of everyone including media practitioners.
As professionals, Police know that Journalists have a duty to inform the citizenry and one way of doing so is through collection of information at such press briefings.
Journalists must not, therefore, suffer for the misgivings of others, especially when they identify themselves as media practitioners, but must be respected and their work acknowledged.
What is even more saddening to MOAZ is that Police are displaying this behaviour, under an administration that is making strides in appreciating further, freedom of the press and expression by advancing the process of enacting the Freedom of Information Bill into law.
MOAZ therefore, humbly appeals to the Police high command to re-orient all officers on the important work that Journalists do in a mature democratic dispensation like Zambia to ensure such scenarios are never repeated.
Following this ordeal, MOAZ is actively engaging the Zambia Police Service for a meeting which has been agreed for as soon as possible to discuss the way forward.
Further, MOAZ wishes to appeal to the affected Journalists to be strong and not allow such unprofessional conduct to dissuade them from carrying out their assignments.
MOAZ stands in solidarity with all Journalists in the country as they carry out their most appreciated noble cause as the fourth estate.