The United Kingdom has commended the Zambian Government for its response to the recent harassment of journalists at Radio Maria in Chipata and Power FM radio in Kabwe.
British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet said the international community notes with happiness the stance government has taken to protect the media against any form of harassments.
“Harassment of journalists is unacceptable as it is a threat to freedom of the media and freedom of expression in any community in the World,” Mr. Cochrane-Dyet said
Mr. Cochrane said the statements from State House, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services and IBA condemning the harassment and calling for the arrest of the perpetrators are encouraging.
The High Commissioner was speaking when he and his Canadian counterpart Pamela O’Donnell paid a courtesy call on Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya at her office in Lusaka.
They later delivered an invitation to the minister to attend the Global Conference for Media Freedom to be co-hosted by Britain and Canada in London in July this year.
And Canadian High Commissioner to Zambia Pamela O’Donnell said at the centre of discussions at the two-day conference will be media freedom and protection as well as cyber laws more so that the three countries – Britain, Canada and Zambia, are signatories of the Commonwealth Cyber law agreement.
Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Dora Siliya said Government is committed to public access to information hence its approval of the Access To Information bill due to be tabled in Parliament in the course of the year.
Ms. Siliya reiterated Government’s desire to grow a professional and ethical media hence its call to the media fraternity to come together and form a professional body by which they will regulate themselves.
She said Government also wants to see continued private sector involvement and investment in the media for job and wealth creation that will uplift the morale of all the scribes in the country.
Ms. Siliya further thanked the two Governments for the invitation saying the meeting has come at a critical time when countries have to address the challenges posed by the emergence of new information technologies and their offshoots of fake news, cyber-crimes, hate speech and other negative attributes.
Ms. Siliya said apart from the exchange of views on various issues affecting the media, the Zambian Government will also use the platform to clarify on a number of issues being perpetrated by some sections of the media and other publications to paint a wrong image of the country.