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Political intimidation, harassment hinder media freedom in Zambia, says says Kasama entrepreneur


Political intimidation and harassment are major hindrances to media freedom and freedom of expression in Zambia, according to Mary Mulenga, a Kasama entrepreneur.

Mulenga, who runs a mobile booth in the Central Business District of Kasama District, stated that these issues were also leading some journalists to become political cadres for the ruling party, as had been seen in the past.

Zambia Monitor was in Kasama District of Northern Province to gauge public knowledge on media freedom, the Cybersecurity Act, and freedom of expression when they spoke with Mulenga.

She said that although media freedom and freedom of expression existed in Zambia, many journalists and ordinary citizens self-censor due to fear of repercussions.

“We have seen journalists being summoned by the police for publishing stories deemed anti-government, creating fear and leading some to write pro-government content,” Mulenga stated.

She also highlighted that some journalists support the government to secure appointments to various positions, especially as Public Relations Officers in local authorities.

“When late President Michael Sata formed the government, he appointed many journalists who supported him while in opposition to various positions, such as First Secretary for Press in diplomatic missions, which compromised them,” Mulenga said.

Read More: Kasama youth highlights positive impact, challenges of cyber Security Act on digital rights (video)

On the Cybersecurity Act, Mulenga noted with sadness that authorities act quickly on politically inclined social media posts but are slow to address the bullying of ordinary citizens online.

She said that many ordinary citizens were bullied online, reducing their chances of participating in discussions on platforms like X-spaces, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media pages.

“A section of society that authorities ignore is the disabled or differently abled. These people are harassed on social media, and everyone turns a blind eye. Older women are another category that is bullied,” Mulenga stated.

She emphasized the need for authorities to apply the law fairly and protect all citizens from harassment in cyberspace.

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