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By Staff Writer
The Media Liaison Committee (MLC) an umbrella body of media bodies in Zambia would like to call upon media houses that are victims of violence and harassment to stop withdrawing cases that are before the courts of law.
The MLC is shocked that PASME radio station in Petauke Eastern province has decided to withdraw its case against District Commissioner Velenase Moyo who together with some local police officers, had recently harassed staff and vandalised radio equipment in trying to stop a paid for radio programme that featured opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.
The station was demanding for damages following the harassment and violent conduct of the DC and her police officers.
“Reports reaching us indicate that the radio station has withdrawn the case which was already before the courts of law. What Pasme radio station has done is to encourage perpetrators of violence against the media to up their game.
“Political party cadres, leaders such as DCs, police officers, and other overzealous characters shall continue doing what they do best – media harassment – because they know that the media will withdraw the case after being talked to. This is very unfortunate.”
The MLC says media houses should not withdraw any case on intimidation, harassment, violence against them whether at police level or before the courts.
Reports indicate that the radio station decided to withdraw the case following a visit of some Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) staff who allegedly asked them to withdraw the case or face problems in future when applying for licence renewals.
If these reports are true, then we call on IBA to stick to its mandate of licensing and regulating the electronic media and allow journalists to operate in an independent environment in the little available democratic space.
Zambia will next year be holding general elections and our fear is that the media will not be able to cover this epic event freely and fairly if intimidation of the media especially from the ruling party continues.
This is according to media statement issued by MLC Chairperson Enock Ngoma.