As we prepare to mark World Press Freedom Day , my heart bleeds for the journalists, newspapers, radio and television stations which have become victims of tyrannical, intolerant and dictatorial regimes around the world which continuously arrest, torture, kill and close them down for merely doing their jobs.
Press Freedom is essential in any democratic country. Closing down radio, television stations, social media and newspapers as we have witnessed elsewhere and here in Zambia with regard to The Post Newspaper which has kept every government on its toes, is unacceptable and a threat to the democratic dispensation the people of Zambia fought for in 1990.
The value of an independent media is indisputable , especially in countries like ours where we have a tame public media which acts as a propaganda mouth piece for those in power and blacks out independent or opposing voices . The people of the world are entitled to divergent views and are intelligent enough to make up their own minds . The worlds just like countries, are not a monolithic entities . They are multi cultural , multi ethnic and multi dimensional . They cannot be fed with only one menu of news . They thrive on diversity which is based on robust debate and interrogation of ideas, governments and institutions . Some dictatorial governments even go so far as shutting down the social media just to suppress dissent .
The number of journalists being murdered, brutalised and imprisoned as they go about doing their work around the world and bringing uncensored news into our living rooms has been growing in the recent past . The time for citizens of the world to stand up and defend press freedom in Zambia and in the world is now. If we as world citizens fail to do so, we shall become part of the culture and conspiracy of silence against press freedom all over the world .
Zambia needs a vibrant independent media and a diversity of voices for our nascent democracy to survive . Closure or threats against newspapers, radio , television and social media outlets, is against the spirit of our constitution and the bill of rights which clearly state that everyone has the right of expression and association . Any threats to press freedom anywhere in the world , is a threat to press freedom everywhere in the world . Press freedom is a breath of fresh air to the world , which is witnessing traumatic and deeply troubling times .