MANOEUVRES to strangle The Mast Newspaper are unacceptable; the state must allow the publication to grow, says Press Association of Zambia president Andrew Sakala.
Post provisional liquidator Lewis Mosho on Sunday made a K5 million demand on Oracle Media, the publishers of The Mast, claiming that the newspaper has been using Post equipment such as printing press and vehicles belonging to The Post (in liquidation).
Mosho, who was acting on behalf of State House, also stated that should there be no response on the full list of Post assets purportedly under use by The Mast, he would petition for the winding up of Oracle Media and The Mast.
Oracle Media director Mutinta Mazoka M’membe, however, has said the company was not aware of Post Newspapers Limited assets that Mosho was claiming were being used by The Mast.
Commenting on the matter, Sakala said PAZA was disturbed by the latest manoeuvres to shut The Mast.
“The PF government may not like The Mast or what is published but please let it grow; it’s for Zambians, it’s about press freedom. The manoeuvres to strangle The Mast are unacceptable,” Sakala said.
He said press freedom was a cornerstone of any democracy and Zambia was a plural democracy where there should be no gagging, suppression or muzzling of independent media.
“I am asking the PF government to operate and do things in line with its manifesto. The manifesto of the PF emphasises press freedom and that ought to be respected as they govern this country. The Mast is a growing newspaper; it is an emerging newspaper that should in fact be supported. Our view is that no media should be suppressed. We need to see mature democracy, we need to see real press freedom,” said Sakala.