The Media Liaison committee has expressed concern over the continuous attacks on journalists and called on the Ministry of Media and Information to provide financial aid to media houses.
During the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, Media Liaison Committee Chairperson, Enock Goma called on the Minister of Media and Information, Chushi Kasanda, to provide clarification on the violence that has been acted towards the media and to consider soliciting for cheaper data bundles for television stations that stream online.
“The ministry should find a way to help the radio stations that are mounting towers as the renting cost is high, hence causing some media houses to shut down instead of creating employment in the country,” Mr Goma said.
He added that tax holidays should be created for these media houses to aviate these challenges.
“It is possible through your office, Honorable Minister, to consider soliciting for cheaper data bundles for media houses, for example, TV stations that continue to stream using the internet. The data bundles are very high,” Mr Goma said.
In response, the Minister of Media and Information, Chushi Kasanda, stated that the government is working with the public to enhance freedom of expression and that human rights should be at the center of every decision making.
“Government has participated by removing the defamation of the president law clause, abolishment of the death penalty and the ongoing process of repeal and appeal order of act,” Honorable Kasanda said.
However, she expressed concern about the level of debate among the media fraternity over the issue of media self-regulation.
“I must be quick to stress here that the issue of media self-regulation is entirely your issue to decide as the media fraternity. You know better what would work for you,” she said.
The United Nations Coordinator to Zambia, Beatrice Mutale, said media needs to distinguish themselves and earn the public trust as dependable sources of news.
“For media to thrive, they need to operate in a conducive environment with media freedom and access to information guaranteed,” Ms. Mutale said.
Zambia commemorated World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd and is expected to host the second African Media Conversion, which is scheduled from May 11th to May 13th, 2023.