Media owners bemoan shrinking media space in Zambia

Journalists in Zambia on Thursday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Press Freedom Day with proprietors of media institutions expressing concern over the shrinking media space in the country.

President of the Media Owners Association of Zambia, Oscar Chavula said the government should allow the media to operate freely without any intimidation because the media is key to the development of the country.

"Media practitioners have continued to face injustices at the hands of politicians and in some instances government officials as evidenced by the physical attacks on media houses and harassment of individual journalists from both the private and public media witnessed in the recent past," he said.

He said the government needed to take necessary steps to arrest the shrinking media space by enacting the Access to Information Bill into law to enable the media freely keep in check those in power and ensure that justice and the rule of law prevailed.

The theme for this year's commemoration is "Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law".

But the media owners believe that the realisation of the theme will be impossible as long as the media industry continues to face harassment from political parties and those in power.

He further said the current draconian media laws were hindering journalists from questioning certain decisions made by those in power.

The media owners also pledged to hold a meeting in order to deal with the problem of poor working conditions prevailing in the media industry, saying without good conditions it will be difficult to attain professionalism.

Meanwhile, Zambia's human rights body has commended journalists for their unwavering resilience in defending human rights in the country despite the harsh working environment they operate in.

The commemoration of the main event in Lusaka started with a march of journalists from various media organizations who marched to East Park Mall shopping complex.

The commemoration was also characterised by an exhibition by various media houses.

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