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Education secretary warns of dangers of imposition of taxes on online political content


Mark Mwanza, the Education Secretary for the Catholic Diocese of Chipata, argues that the proposed imposition of taxes on online political content poses a significant risk to freedom of expression in Zambia.

He also contended that such taxation would disproportionately favour financially capable individuals, effectively silencing those who cannot afford the tax.

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Speaking to Zambia Monitor in Eastern Province, Chipata, Mwanza emphasized the need for the government to provide a clear rationale for implementing such taxation.

Read More: Zambian activist highlights ongoing threats to media freedom on World Press Freedom Day (video)

“How will they be billing participants?” Mwanza questioned. “But again, I see it as a potential restriction on freedom of expression. If one can only express oneself when having financial means, it implies being silenced when lacking funds.”

Moreover, Mwanza highlighted the economic challenges hindering media freedom in Zambia.

He pointed out the substantial financial requirements for operating media outlets, particularly radio stations, which often struggle to sustain themselves.

“These economic challenges expose journalists to bribery and other forms of corruption,” Mwanza noted.

“Journalists working in privately owned media often face low salaries, which may compromise their independence and integrity.”

Despite these challenges, Mwanza acknowledged governmental efforts to improve media freedom in certain areas.

He noted a decrease in the frequency of closure of media outlets or intimidation of individuals for their views.

“I would say that people and media houses are now freer to express their views,” Mwanza said.

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