LUSAKA – 20.05.2020
The United Party for National Development (UPND) says it has launched a campaign to end the current spate of attacks on media houses and media practitioners by PF cadres across the country.
This came to light this morning when UPND Lusaka Province Deputy Chairperson in charge of Politics, Anderson Banda told journalists that the storming of media houses by PF cadres has left the party with no choice but to devise a mechanism aimed at protecting media houses across the country.
Mr Banda, who strongly denounced what he termed as “barbaric” the PF’s new culture of attacking journalists and storming media houses, also pledged unwavering support towards the media.
“We wish to condemn in the strongest terms the violence that the PF have started against journalists. We stand with all journalists in this country; we stand with all media houses—both print and electronic media. We will defend you. We have no option but to take it upon ourselves to protect journalists and media houses that are under attack from the PF,” said Banda.
He also called on the PF to consider reopening all media houses that have been closed under the PF’s “brutal” leadership, stating that the PF should be ashamed that the levels of attacks against journalists have skyrocketed to alarming levels under its watch.
“The levels of violence against journalists and other media houses have reached unprecedented levels under the leadership of Edgar Lungu. This in itself tells you that the PF have no regard for the Fourth Estate, something that they should be ashamed of. But we want to call on the PF to leave the media houses alone as well as to reopen those that they have shut,’’ he said.
He said the recent wave of attacks on Muchinga FM in Muchinga Province, ISO FM in Isoka of Northern Province as well as the subsequent instruction on Mpika FM Radio by Mpika District Commissioner, Moses Katebe not to allow UPND President, Hakainde Hichilema to feature, were an attempt by the PF to reduce the democratic space of the country, a trend he said risked plunging the country into chaos if left unchecked.
“We are compelled to add our voice on the prevailing situation in the country where the PF has reached a dangerous level of violence. This trend, if left unchecked, has the potential to derail the country’s democratic strides and plunge the nation into chaos. Therefore, we are instructing all our youths in Lusaka and other places to defend themselves and their leaders,” he said.
He has since warned the PF to desist from making unwarranted kind of statements as to which parts of the country Mr Hichilema should and shouldn’t visit, stressing that Mr Hichilema was a bonafide, free citizen of the country who had the right to visit any party of the nation without any hindrance.
“There is no province in the country which is a no-go area for President Hichilema. We will take him to all provinces including Muchinga, Luapula, Northern and Copperbelt because no one has the monopoly of restricting other citizens from visiting other parts of the country. Therefore, in the interest of democracy, can you free the democratic space of the country so that anyone can freely campaign,” said Mr Banda.
UPND MEDIA TEAM