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HomeLocal NewsFreedom of expression violation rampant- MISA 

Freedom of expression violation rampant- MISA 

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

MEDIA freedom and freedom of expression violation increased in 2022 compared to 2021, according to a latest Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Zambia report.

The report has noted that while the country recorded several notable positive developments that helped media and citizens to enjoy relative free operating environment and freedom of expression among citizens, research indicates that the country’s media freedom and freedom of expression was ranked moderate in in 2022.

The report has also observed that the rampant media freedom violations was due to the existence of archaic laws and activities that continue to undermine media freedom and freedom of expression.

“Compared to 2021, reports recorded show that the year 2022 saw an increase in media freedom and freedom of expression, Misa noted that some of the cases that threatened media freedom and freedom of expression include a threat issued on City TV reporter, Wellington Chanda by the Kasama District Commissioner (DC) and some Provincial Youth leaders from the United Party for National Development,” the report says.

It said another case that threatened media freedom involved former Health Minister whose lawyers wrote to News Diggers demanding for an immediate retraction and an apology for an article published in the newspaper.

“On a sad note, during the period under review, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) in 2022 introduced a 16 percent Value Added Tax on Booklets and Newspapers effective January 1, 2022, freedom of expression violations,” the report explains. 

MISA was of the view that going forward, the is need to enact the Access to Information Bill and also make a constitutional provision that expressly provides for the right to information from public bodies.

The report stated that while the IBA Act applies to radio and television broadcasting over terrestrial and satellite platforms, the lack of autonomy of the IBA in the appointment process for the board is heavily vested in the minister for information. 

The report suggested that this should be changed in the law to include broader participation in the appointment of the board adding that its accountability must be vested with the national assembly and not the Ministry of Information and Media. 

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