By JOHN SAKALA
The Lusaka Press Club (LPC) is perturbed by reports of beating of media personnel and damage to public property by political party cadres.
LPC Interim Chairperson Joy Sata said the behaviour was uncalled for and should be condemned by all well-meaning political players regardless of the origin of the media house, whether private or public, print or electronic.
Ms Sata said the attack on Zambia Daily Mail reporters, Steven Mvula and Jack Zimba on voting day during the Katuba by-election by political party cadres leaves much to be desired in terms of security for media personnel covering such activities.
She said the attack was a cowardly act by cadres who decided to vent their wrath on the wrong people.
“It is unfortunate that criminals are masquerading as party cadres and stealing property of innocent citizens. We wonders where the police were when the defenceless reporters were attacked with pangas and beaten by suspected cadres from a known party despite heavy police presence and assurances by the top police command earlier.
“The action by the cadres does not justify the fact that they do not like media personnel from the public media whom they allege to be biased towards the party in government. One thing is very clear, if their political party were to be in power today, the reverse will be the same,” she said.
She said the behaviour does not tie up with the pronouncements of senior officials within the political parties that seem not ready to provide solution.
Ms Said sensitisation seems to be for a small fraction of cadres within these political parties, mostly those who play a direct role in the electoral process.
“Systems seem to have broken down in these political parties as rules and regulations are completely ignored by cadres and senior officials who turn a blind eye to the safety of the journalists who are in the field to gather information for publication. We expect a thorough investigation of this matter and ensure that culprits will not only be brought to book but also face the consequences of their actions. We commend President Edgar Lungu for directing the police to ensure the arrest of the people behind the assault of the journalists.
“We expect the two journalists to be supported by proponents of human rights such as Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Law Association of Zambia to support the media in the fight against such injustices. The journalists have a constitutional right in their line of duty to report fairly, objectively and in the public interest. We appeal to the Police and other law enforcement agencies to step up the investigations before a life is lost. It is high time the police restored order or there will be anarchy in 2021,” she said.