Journalists to fight for repeal of media laws Zambia

The Zambia Independent Media Association (ZIMA) says it will
continue to pressure the Zambian government to remove laws that inhibit
press freedom in the country.

 

**Updates IFEX alert of 24 February 1999**

This was stated in reaction to the 4 May 1999 comments made by the Minister
of Information and Broadcasting Services, Newstead Zimba, that the
government had no
intentions of repealing the laws which impinge on access to information and
freedom of the press.

Upon his return from a tour of media institutions in China and the United
Kingdom, Zimba, who is also the chief government spokesman, told the Zambia
News Agency (ZANA) that every country had laws which regulated the press.

He claimed that the United Kingdom, from where Zambia inherited the laws
relating to libel, sedition and state security, was still maintaining the
laws and wondered why Zambian journalists were agitating for the repeal of
the laws.

“The most advanced countries do have these laws. If you want them diluted, I
don’t know what you want to achieve. There have to be rules governing the
performance of every field,” Zimba said. “There is no country that would
operate without setting rules and laws. In Britain the libel laws are still
strict.”

He appealed to Zambian journalists to exercise self censorship and avoid
dwelling on personalities. “We don’t say you shouldn’t criticise. You are
free to criticise, but it should be on issues and not personalities,” Zimba
said.

In reaction to these statements, ZIMA chairman David Simpson said that his
organisation would lobby parliament to change the laws because only that
institution could bring about change and not the Minister of Information.

“ZIMA is doing its best to make members of the legislature aware of the
problems which exist with the current laws…we shall continue to pressure
for this and the decision will be for parliament as a whole,” Simpson said.

He also revealed that ZIMA was preparing a book covering the laws which the
organisation objects to. “We hope this will be issued soon and hope that
government will take due notice of it,” he further stated.

This article was originally published on Journalists to fight for repeal of media laws Zambia