LUSAKA Province PF chairman Kennedy Kamba says May 3 acts primarily as a reminder to government of the need to respect its commitment to press freedom.
In a statement to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day, Kamba who is also PF Member of the Central Committee said the day was also one of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
“We recognise and appreciate the significant role that the media plays in a democratic dispensation like Zambia and in shaping democracy. As you are all aware, World Press Freedom Day which is today May 3, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s general conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day,” Kamba said.
He said in the incident of COVID-19 pandemic, the day was also an opportunity to have deep reflections as individual journalists on personal contributions they are making in shaping the country’s democracy through responsible and ethical journalism.
Kamba said there must introspection on the fundamental principles of press freedom.
“We must introspect the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom in our country and share ideas on how we can create a professional media space that could significantly contribute to national development,” he said.
Kamba noted that one can never run away from the fact that while there is appreciation for media colleagues and the role they play “in our lives, there are also some individuals and institutions that are unfortunately promoting hate speech and mudslinging in the name of media freedom”.
Kamba said others have taken to various media platforms to insult the Republican President and his government day-in, day-out without any sense of shame or being mindful that journalism is about ethics.
“There must be a change in the conduct of such individual journalists and bloggers. Such conduct must not be allowed among noble men and women who practice professional journalism in our country” said.
Meanwhile, Kamba regretted the fracas that happened on May 1 at the PF secretariat where two journalists were injured during a fracas by PF cadres.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to express regret and apologise over the fracas that happened on Saturday May 1, 2021 when we were receiving Honourable Chishimba Kambwili back to the party, and unfortunately there was a fracas, two journalists, Francis Maingaila and Nancy Malwele were caught up in the fracas and got injured,” he said. “As the party, we sincerely apologise for this incident. First to the two journalists, the media fraternity and indeed the nation. What happened was extremely unfortunate, unacceptable and does not in any way define the characteristics of the PF. As a leadership in Lusaka, we will use everything possible within our powers to stop and defuse any form of violence.”
Kamba said all journalists must feel protected and safe when covering PF events.
“We respect and acknowledge the significant role of journalists in politics. Further, we take pride in the fact that today, under the PF government, airwaves have continued to be liberalised with many television and radio stations dotted around the country,” said Kamba. “We have a variety of newspapers on the streets that demonstrates the much needed pluralism. We must be proud of this achievement as a democratic state.”