News / Africa

Zambia Cracks Down on Harassing Journalists

Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.
x
Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.
Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.
Peter Clottey
Zambia’s government has ordered police to arrest individuals or groups of people who intimidate or harass journalists or prevent them from doing their job.

Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Kennedy Sakeni said President Michael Sata’s government wants to make sure journalists are protected following reports that some supporters of political parties have been beating journalists they believe are critical of their party’s leaders.      

Sakeni says the new directive to police is aimed at ensuring that journalists can practice their profession without fear of intimidation or harassment as enshrined in the constitution.

“We don’t want journalists to be harassed by anybody from any political party [because] information to us is very critical to our development,” said Sakeni.

“There are some documented cases where some opposition parties, their cadres and officials have been harassing both public and private media journalists whenever they come across them. As a government, we don’t want any violence against journalists,” he added.

Sakeni said the government issued the directive after journalists petitioned the administration to protect them following reported harassment.

But some opposition parties say the government’s new directive to police is a publicity stunt to gain favorable press coverage and stifle opponents of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party. The government denies the accusation.

Sakeni underscored the importance of the role journalists play in Zambia.

“We should actually make sure that we respect the role of journalists,” he said.

“We must realize that as a developing country, we need information, and without information how do we inform the public about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, the various development programs government is involved in and how do we teach our people new farming methods?”

In April, the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) said it was disappointed with the government’s decision to “prematurely” retire six prominent journalists at the state-run newspaper, the Times.  The government gave no reason for its decision.

Andrew Sakala, chairman of the press association, said it appears the journalists were retired for allegedly sympathizing with the former ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).  The MMD is now the main opposition party.

But, Sakeni denied the government was behind the retirement of the journalists.

“The media, whether public or private, have their own board and they make decisions on their own. As government, we don’t go into what the various media boards decide on their employees,” said Sakeni.

Clottey interview with Zambia Information Minister Kennedy Sakeni
Clottey interview with Zambia Information Minister Kennedy Sakeni i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid