Democracy cannot thrive without press freedom, says Copperbelt MMD information and publicity secretary Peter Phiri. In a statement, Phiri observed that media freedom was a recipe for good governance and accountability.
He said such fundamental right must be respected and embraced in a democratic dispensation.
“Whether we like it or not, media freedom is a recipe for good governance, accountability and respect for the rule of law,” Phiri said.
“And democracy cannot thrive without press freedom. Therefore, there’s need to embrace, respect and appreciate this fundamental right in a democratic dispensation because it is one of the tenets of democracy.”
He further said it was disheartening that Zambia had witnessed suppression of press freedom in the past one year.
“The events leading to the August 2016 general elections were characterised by intimidation of media houses by politicians. Subsequently, we witnessed the temporary revocation of broadcasting licenses for MUVI TV and some radio stations by the Independent Broadcasting Authority [IBA]. And of course the major setback in the media industry was the closure of The Post newspaper,” said Phiri.
“It therefore goes without saying that it has been disheartening to see the suppression of press freedom in Zambia in the past one year. But as politicians, we should also draw lessons from what is happening that for us to continue clinging on to power we need to intimidate media outlets.”