*Contact* : UPND Media Director, Ruth Dante
Lusaka (31.07.2020) United Party for National Development (UPND) welcomes the approval of the Zambia Council of Journalists Bill 2020 aimed at providing for the establishment of a self-regulatory body for journalists by Cabinet.
From the onset, the UPND has been a serious advocate for a media body that would ensure protection of journalists against repression from political players especially the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) who have now gone a step further to invade radio and TV stations to try and stop programmes featuring opposition political party leaders.
The fear is that, regulating media in a hostile political environment like ours without first enacting the Access To Information (ATI) Bill would only make the work of journalists more difficult especially that the country heads to the polls in 11 months time.
The move is not favourable to Zambia’s media fraternity especially that public media (ZNBC, Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and the Independent Broadcasting Authority) (IBA) have not been reformed.
Favourable treatment and abuse of state run media would continue, journalists from there will continue to be treated with preference, given adverts and see reporters from the these institutions treated well at government assignments/ engagements while journalists from private run media institutions will continue to be treated like enemies of the State by senior government officials at State functions.
Therefore, to regulate the media without providing a framework that would ensure their safety in their line of duty would only serve as a platform on which to drive the PF’s evil agenda of suppressing the already stifled media space in the country.
UPND MEDIA TEAM