The Media Institute of Southern Africa, MISA Zambia Chapter, has demanded for the immediate release of Post Newspapers Editor-in-Chief, Fred M’membe, his wife Mutinta and Post Deputy Managing Editor, Joseph Mwenda.
In a statement, MISA Zambia Chapter chairperson, Helen Mwale, called on Inspector General of Police, Kakoma Kanganja and the Police command to release the three.
She also appealed to President Edgar Lungu, to immediately intervene in the matter, if he really believes in the freedom of the press and democracy.
Mr. M’membe, his wife Mutinta and Post Deputy Managing Editor, Joseph Mwenda were arrested this morning.
This was after the trio gained entry to the Post Newspapers Head Office on Bwimjimfumu road around 01 Hours this morning following a stay that restrained Zambia Revenue Authority from seizing the newspaper’s property.
Ms. Mwale says it is saddening that in a country that boasts about being democratic, law enforcement agencies are being used to break the law and disobey court orders.
Ms. Mwale pointed out that the arrest of M’membe and his Deputy Managing Editor, who had an ex-parte order, is proof that the action by the state is politically motivated and only aimed at crippling the newspaper.
She says the attempts to muzzle the Press in Zambia using force will not succeed, as this has already reflected badly on the current leadership with their character currently under question internationally.
Ms. Mwale says political leaders must know that the decision to close the Post Newspaper, in addition to political violence, restriction of fundamental freedoms of association, expression and movement, undermines the holding of a free, fair and peaceful election.
She says that state institutions, including the Zambia Police and Zambia Revenue Authority, must not allow themselves to be used to achieve petty political aims, but must act in a fair and reasonable manner.