By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
MISA Zambia has commended government for its efforts on law reforms.
MISA Chairperson Reverend Barnabas Simatende said the repeal of Section 69 of the Penal Code which is Defamation of the President is welcomed.
On 23rd December, 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema assented to the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill number 25 of 2022 abolishing the imposition of the death penalty and the offence of Criminal Defamation of the President, which have been on the Zambian statute books since the pre-independence era.
It was a crime to defame the President in Zambia and attracted a jail term of upto three years.
Misa Zambia Chairperson Reverend Barnabas Simatende, said on countless occasions, the organization has lobbied different regimes to repeal this law as it was inimical to media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said unfortunately the pleas fell on deaf ears until now that it the law has been abolished.
“We are therefore delighted as MISA Zambia that finally the New Dawn Government has repealed this oppressive law that has seen many journalists charged under it and detained for various periods. In the same vein, MISA Zambia is elated that the state has put in full swing the process to enact the Access to Information (ATI) Bill. We are also happy that they have developed a roadmap which details the steps towards its enactment,” he said.