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Introduction of taxation on online political content aligns with international practices, says UPND media director

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The introduction of taxation on online political content aligns with international standard practices used by governments to broaden their tax base, according to Frank Bwalya, the Director of the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) Presidential Campaign media team.

Bwalya told Zambia Monitor that people should not be apprehensive about the introduction of such taxes, assuring that it would not stifle any business operating online.

“It is standard practice throughout the world that whenever governments see people and organizations making money, they get interested and start to collect taxes on behalf of the people,” he stated.

Addressing media freedoms, Bwalya acknowledged the existence of media freedom in the country, even though certain people had been arrested and media houses closed in the past.

He argued that under the UPND government, the media and public were more free to express themselves without hindrance, unlike in the past when journalists faced intimidation and harassment by cadres.

“Media freedom is the freedom enjoyed by the press and everyone involved in public communication, such as radio stations, televisions, newspapers, online publications and new media like digital media,” Bwalya stated.

Bwalya, a trained journalist, added that media freedom was guaranteed by various legislation and the constitution, which was the supreme law of the land.

Read More: Church in Northern Province cautions against cyberspace abuse, supports cyber security law (Video)

However, he was quick to mention that some media houses were abusing this privilege.

He further commented on the advantages and disadvantages of the Cyber Security Act, stating that it was in place to protect people and guarantee freedom of expression.

“As a matter of fact, it is enhancing freedom of expression and allowing people to express themselves in a sober manner,” Bwalya said.

He also commended the mainstream media for highlighting issues affecting people in the country, although he noted an information gap, especially for people in rural areas.

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