Leader of the Opposition in Zambian parliament Brian Mundubile claims that President Hakainde Hichilema has backtracked on his promise to have the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC ) bill enacted into law.
Mundubile,the Patriotic Front ( PF) presidential candidate, said enough progress was made over the ZAMEC issue but that President Hichilema had now gone silent on the matter.
“The expectation of the media fraternity in Zambia generally is that the UPND Government in general and President Hichilema in particular would expedite the enactment of the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) Bill given the many assurances he gave while in opposition to give the media freedom,” he said.
Mundubile said President Hichilema promised to enact the Bill for more order in the manner media business was done and provide security to the media against any form of harassment.
“President Hichilema should fulfill his promise because ”ubucenjeshi bwa mpelembe, icifulukutu panuma” (one boasts of being blameless but soon after that, he is caught),” he said.
Mundubile added in a media statement on Monday that media freedom was important and played a cardinal role in a constitutional democracy like the one in Zambia.
He said it was in the public domain that media personnel were being harassed under the UPND Government.
“Examples are Muvi TV Reporter Innocent Phiri who was recently arrested for filming the police effecting an arrest on one of the opposition leaders Chilufya Tayali. And now we saw that the UPND cadres hounded out Mr Tayali who was appearing on Kokoliko FM Radio in Chingola and another appearance on radio in Mufulira was thwarted by cadres,” he said.
Aldo read:Opposition alleges President Hichilema intimidating the media (zambiamonitor.com)
But UPND media director Ruth Dante maintained that President Hichilema’s administration has guaranteed media freedom in the country since coming into power.
“Unlike previously when the media couldn’t operate freely in fear of being attacked by cadres or media practitioners losing jobs as the case was in public media institutions, President Hichilema and the new dawn government have walked the talk by allowing media institutions to operate in a conducive environment,” Dante stated.
She said in a statement on Sunday that President Hichilema while in opposition assured citizens that the media would operate freely without intimidation as they are equal partners in development which she said had been fulfilled.