The Media Institute of Southern Africa, MISA, Zambia chapter says it is alarmed by the threats of violence against journalists at Kasama’s Radio Mano who are currently living in fear for their lives.
MISA Zambia Chapter Chairperson, Hellen Mwale says she has received a complaint in which two senior Patriotic Front officials directed cadres at a meeting in Kasama to ‘attack’ and ‘sort-out’ one of the radio station’s editors, Tobias Mangani.
Ms. Mwale says that it is even more alarming that one of the PF officials blatantly encouraged the cadres by saying a lawyer would be provided to take care of them should they be arrested for attacking Mr. Mangani, following claims that the station was offering coverage to the opposition political parties.
Ms. Mwale warned political cadres to desist from any acts aimed at intimidating the staff at the radio station which is within its right to operate in line with its mandate of offering a platform for information and public debate.
She says MISA will not hesitate to take stern action to condemn all those involved especially that high ranking party members are at the centre of this violation against the democratic freedom of the press to offer a platform for participatory governance.
Ms. Mwale says it is disappointing that the attacks on journalists are happening barely a day after the head of state advised Zambians to desist from any acts of violence.
She says MISA is closely monitoring the situation on the ground as it develops at Radio Mano in Kasama, ISO FM, in Isoka, Breeze FM in Chipata, Chikaya Radio in Lundazi and Kariba FM and will announce the course of action to be taken soon.
Ms. Mwale added that MISA is equally monitoring cadres who seem to have gone on rampage countrywide attacking and interfering with the operations of several media houses in the country with a view to coerce them to black out the opposition.
She has called on journalists at Radio Mano to remain calm and carry on with their duty of facilitating the dissemination of information and citizen participation in governance without fear or favour.