It is not enough for the Minister of Information to just condemn the barbaric act by the overzealous PF cadres that took the law in their hands to try and stop UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from featuring on a paid up program in Chinsali and Mpika last week.
This is not the first time PF cadres have attacked journalists featuring opposition leaders and Dora Siliya as a renowned journalist remembers that former State House Press aide Amos Chanda in May last year expressed shock that police had not arrested PF cadres who had stormed Power FM studio in Kabwe, hounded NDC President Chishimba Kambwili and caused damage to the station property.
Prior to that PF cadres in Chipata stormed Radio Maria in after it featured an activist they accused of criticizing government. During the same period PF cadres in Lusaka attacked Salim Dawood at the freedom statue as he covered labour day celebrations.
Enough of PF cadres attacking journalists and Enough of lip service condemnations. What we need to hear or see from the government is an action taken against those PF thugs. The action should also be extended to the person who sent them to cancel the program.
Our minds are still fresh on what happened to MMD President Dr Nevers Mumba who was arrested and charged for criminal trespass of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation premises shortly after the 2016 General election.
The act known as walking in interview was interpreted to mean an act of trespass and resulted into a conviction by the Lusaka magistrate court. We see no reason why the same move cannot be taken by the police against those overzealous PF thugs for rudely interrupting the paid up live program in Chinsali.
As UPND we call upon police to immediately arrest the known cadres who invaded Muchinga radio station as this is a deliberate ploy by the PF to set an atmosphere were journalists will stop featuring or covering opposition political leaders and their parties.
As the Ministry rightly observed, Zambia is a democratic state which need to be ruled by laws. We demand the arrest of those cadres to save as a lesson to would be offenders. It is a crime to interfere in the operation of the media.
We wish to remind the PF that democracy thrive where there is free press and attempts by cadres to muzzle the freedom of expression and Association is not only regrettable and should be dealt with using the laws of Zambia.
We urge the Minister to prevail over the Minister of Home Affairs to cause the arrest of the PF thugs for attempting to stop a citizen from expressing his view on a national radio. The radio station upon which the cadres attacked fall under her Ministry and this should be the cause for her concern and action.
Meanwhile we wish to strongly condemn the University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Luke Mumba for accusing journalists at Diggers Newspapers of practising junk journalism.
What message is he sending out there because some journalists are products of his institution UNZA
We wish to advice Professor Mumba to remain professional and refrain from singing songs aimed at gagging our democracy. He should not abuse his public position as Vice Chancellor to further shrink the media space in the country.
UNZA is the highest learning of institution which serves as an oasis of Knowledge and the Vice Chancellor is therefore expected to give expert advise to different institutions, do more research and help the embattled government deal with the broken economy and manage COVID-19 which is slowly spreading across the country.
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UPND MEDIA TEAM