President Edgar Lungu has called for the protection of Journalists in the country against all forms of attacks.
President Lungu said intimidation and violent attacks towards journalists should come to a stop as the media is a key component of the state.
He stated that once an individual engages into violent activities towards journalists, it becomes an act of criminality which will be prosecuted regardless of one’s political affiliation.
President Lungu was speaking during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Lusaka today.
The President has assured of government’s support for press freedom in the country.
And the Head of State has urged the Police command to up their game and protect journalists, including all law-abiding citizens from harassment and violence especially ahead of the general elections on August 12, 2021.
“Harassment of journalists is totally unacceptable. Intimidation, harassment and violence is not politics, thus, immediately a person engages in such conduct, he or she has drifted from politics into criminality. Such a person must be arrested and prosecuted,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State also urged journalists to be accurate in providing information to the general public and avoid propagating hate speech.
He observed that some media houses who are practicing unethical journalism by being biased in their reporting, will ruin the careers of the journalists whose credibility will be questioned.
President Lungu implored media practitioners to always present their news in a way that is comprehensive and proportional.
“Journalism’s first obligation is truth, and journalists can only report truthfully if they do thorough investigations and talk to all sides of the story,” he advised.
He added that some media houses have become political mouth pieces because politicians are paying journalists for positive coverage which should not be the case.
The President further advised trained journalists to distinguish themselves from citizen journalism and masqueraders by being professional in their line of work.
He noted that the country has made strides through investment in good quality news transmission through digital migration which is being emulated by other countries.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day is being commemorated under the theme “Information as a public good.”