Tag: intimidation

Stop the harassment of Costa Mwansa and Diamond TV

Stop the harassment of Costa Mwansa and Diamond TV

The summoning by police of Diamond TV chief executive officer Costa Mwansa and head of news and current affairs George Chomba to appear before them at force headquarters is unacceptable harassment of journalists and news media outlets.
We are informed that this is in connection with investigations police are conducting in relation to what is alleged to be a leaked speech of the 2021 budget. But when did a budget speech become a sensitive state security document? Traditionally, the budget speech is quietly made available to reliable and influential media in advance. In the more than two and half decades we were journalists almost every year we had advance access to the budget speech and where never harassed in this way by police.
This is nothing but an attempt to intimidate and censor the country’s leading independent television station.
This type of harassment of journalists has an impact on those affected by it, but it is also a direct attack on press freedom and independence — an attempt to silence specific voices and stories.
Being a target for harassment can be exhausting, which takes an incredible psychological toll on the journalist, the newsroom and on other colleagues in that same beat.
A very tangible consequence is censorship — journalists not reporting a certain story because they’re afraid of the onslaught of harassment.
I have most definitely spoken to journalists who said they have not reported on something, or they have avoided a story, because they’re afraid of the consequences.
Journalists are watchdogs working to promote transparency and accountability. As such, they can be become victims of silencing strategies when they threaten powerful interests or expose governments or important figures in the name of public interest.
This is what is happening in Zambia today where the country’s leading broadcaster Costa Mwansa’s television station, Diamond TV, has been targeted with a string of police investigations and call outs by this authoritarian regime.
Not all silencing techniques are this overt, but even subtler attempts can impact the accountability work being done by journalists at all levels and shouldn’t be ignored – they must be denounced.
We therefore call on the police to immediately stop its harassment of Costa Mwansa and Diamond TV.

Fred M’membe
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Political violence in Kaoma annoying – Dr M’membe

Political violence in Kaoma annoying – Dr M’membe

Statement from the Socialist Party on the political violence in Kaoma

The political violence in the Kaoma council chairperson by-election that has left a fellow citizen dead is very disturbing, annoying.

No one’s life is worth a council chairperson’s election. Life is sacred.

It’s necessary to continually remind ourselves that politics must be for the good of the country, and not for the political survival of any individual or party.

If that spirit of the primacy of the common good were to animate all the political parties, we would not witness the violence, killings which leaves the public dismayed and disheartened.

The quality of democracy is determined by the establishment of proper structures and more just, fare and humane practices which facilitate freedom of thought, expression, association and assembly.

As we approach the 2021 elections we must start to express concern regarding the frequent instances of intolerance, intimidation, violence and lust for power.

In the present atmosphere of fierce competition and character assassination, we remind the nation of the noble goals of political activity.

Politics should aim at promoting the common good and not intolerance, violence and killings. Political discourse should concentrate on programmes to improve the life of the nation rather than on intolerance, violence and killings.

Politicians should look for the common good of all the people and enter into sincere dialogue with opponents, even in cases of political divergence.

Violence must be avoided because the electoral campaign should not be confused with a battlefield where the aim is destroy the other.

Real political victory lies on the ideals proposed, on the ethical values of candidates, on the respect for the freedom of choice of all citizens, and not on any form of moral pressure or intimidation of political opponents or voters.

Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party