President Edgar Lungu has pledged protection of media as the country goes to the general elections next year.
President Lungu said this when he met MISA Zambia officials at State House yesterday.
He said media freedom and freedom of expression must be upheld, adding that government is aggrieved when these are breached.
The Head of State stressed that his government will stand by the media.
“In a meeting with MISA Zambia at State House on Thursday afternoon, President Lungu said there is need for government and the media to work together for the betterment of the country. The President noted the importance of the media freedom and freedom of expression as constitutional freedom which must be upheld adding that government is aggrieved when these are breached,” read the statement issued by the President’s press aide Isaac Chipampe.
Meanwhile, the President bemoaned the violence that was perpetrated against journalists in some districts.
He said violence against journalists was unjustifiable adding that government will not protect anyone breaking the law.
“On acts of the violence which we are perpetrating against the journalists, the President said what happened in these provinces was unfortunate. Violence against journalists is a concern to government and these acts should not be justified whether they are happening in our stronghold or not. As government we will not protect anyone protecting the law. Law breakers ought to be dealt with by Law enforcers regardless of the affiliation. When crime has been committed, law has to take its course,” read the statement.
The President also advised MISA Zambia to address the issue of people masquerading as journalists, hence tarnishing the image of the media in the country.
He said he was concerned that people took to social media to wantonly malign other innocent citizens and hopes the law enforcement officers will come to the aid of society as the scourge escalates.
And MISA Zambia chairperson Hellen Mwale appealed to the head of State to help in the protection of media freedoms and freedoms of expression.
She said the voice of the President in the matter would encourage people to respect the said freedoms.
The meeting was attended by minister of information and broadcasting services Dora Siliya, secretary to the Cabinet Simon Miti, special assistant to the President for press and public relations Isaac Chipampe, special assistant to the President (political) Chris Zumani Zimba as well as ministry of information and broadcasting services permanent secretary Amos Malupenga.
MISA Zambia officials comprised of Mwale, vice-chairperson Hyde Hagula, national director Austin Kayanda, programmes manager Jane Chirwa and committee member Martin Akende.