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Chisenga calls for end to election-related media harassment, votes for patriotism


Discussions on freedom of expression have continued, with Choma Chamber of Commerce president, Evans Chisenga, raising concerns over the harassment of the media and other stakeholders during election periods.

Chisenga recalled the harassment that the media and other stakeholders often face from law enforcement agencies and political parties during elections.

He said such harassments should not be tolerated moving forward.

Discussing Zambia’s freedom of expression, he told Zambia Monitor in Choma that he did not expect such incidents to happen in the future, placing his hopes on President Hakainde Hichilema’s promise during his inaugural speech to uphold the rule of law.

“We are all free. It only becomes a problem, it has always been a problem towards elections. That is where we experience restrictions on that aspect. We hope and trust that what we have been experiencing towards every election will not repeat itself.

“In most cases, you will find that the police are up in arms with whoever says things they do not like; they will come and harass reporters. We have had such experiences which I have said we do not expect this time around,” he said.

Responding to a question on freedom of expression in Zambia, Chisenga stated that the country enjoyed total freedom.

Read more: Media polarisation blamed for biased coverage, civil society leader calls for mindset shift (video)

“When you talk about press freedom here in Zambia, you can talk about the tabloids and social media. We can say it is 100 percent total freedom because anyone can post whatever they want. Anyone right now can post anything, but as the elections approach, the situation just heats up. We do not expect that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chisenga called for increased patriotism among Zambians, which he noticed was waning.

“The best is for citizens to uphold the same sentiments from the Head of State. Then we will be okay in that regard. The only thing I can say is patriotism. Slowly, we seem to be drifting away from that aspect. We need to be patriotic as Zambians, knowing that when things are not right, we do not go there. We need to uphold the values by which we are supposed to live as Zambians,” he said.

Chisenga concluded by stating that harassment of the media and stakeholders during election periods was a development that must be avoided to allow individuals to enjoy peace in the country.

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