President Edgar Lungu has warned citizens intimidating and perpetuating violent attacks against journalist.
Speaking during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Lusaka today, President Lungu said anyone found violating the rights of any media personnel will be dealt with by law enforcement as such acts are unacceptable.
He has since urged police officers to reinforce their command and protect all law abiding citizens from harassment and violence.
Issues of journalists suffering intimidation, and violent attacks cannot continue anymore as the world has now moved on from journalists being enemies of the state to journalists being entities of the state; from journalists spying on the state to journalists collaborating with the state; from journalists destroying the state to journalists building the state,President Lungu.
The president further dispelled rumours following inquiries from the media fraternity about the closure of Prime Television, a privately owned Zambian television station that closed in April last year.
I have heard concerns about the closure of Prime Television. When there was confusion about the closure of this particular television station, I made an inquiry and I was told Prime TV actually did not renew their licence when it fell due. As you may be aware, prior to 2013, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services used to issue broadcasting licences. This function was, by law, transferred to the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA),he said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) representative Charles Ndakala said independent journalism has underlined the indispensable importance of reliable information.
Dr. Ndakala added that his organization supports the welfare of independent journalism and the safety of media practitioners all over the country.
This year’s theme for World Press Freedom Day is “Information for a Public Good” to commemorate journalists and highlight the difficulties they face while reporting the truth.