Muvi Television journalist Kalani Muchima yesterday appeared for questioning at the Lusaka Police Service Headquarters following a news report he did about the beating of Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda by suspected criminals.
And Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) chairperson Hellen Mwale says it is shocking how the police swiftly act on Patriotic Front (PF) instructions instead of acting professionally.
Meanwhile, PF media director Sunday Chanda said Muchima’s narrative was not corroborated as he employed unethical methods with a view to convince the viewers that PF and Lubinda were guilty.
Last week, suspected criminals assaulted Lubinda at Kabwata Market during a tour of his constituency.
This development was reported by Muchima, but Lubinda and Chanda called on police to take action on the reporter for insinuating that others wished the attackers had broken the minister’s legs.
After Muchima’s questioning, a source revealed that the journalist had been issued with a warn and caution statement for libel and defamation of Lubinda.
“It’s the issue of libel, source of information, who gave him the information? So it’s libel and defamation. [They have] given him a warn and caution statement on libel and defamation of Given Lubinda…he demanded to be with a lawyer and so the interrogation was in the presence of a lawyer. It was just cut short because he refused to answer in the way questions were being asked,” the source said.
And Mwale wondered what the police were looking for.
“The unfortunate thing is that there are two people, including Innocent Phiri, who were summoned today (yesterday) at the police to give a statement. Innocent did a story on the youth skills center but that story has never even aired on Muvi TV. So as MISA we are just left to wonder as to why and what it is that the police officers are looking for…,” said Mwale who further appealed to journalists to try and be professional so that they are not in conflict with the law.
“…MISA brought Mr Gilbert Phiri, who is a MISA lawyer, to represent the two people but we are also confused as to what is happening.”
Meanwhile, Chanda stated that he never reported Muchima to the police but merely expressed displeasure in the manner his report was filed.
“…We value all media houses, including Muvi TV, as partners in development and partners in furthering the media industry. However, yellow journalism, distortions, and fake news threaten to choke the media space,” stated Chanda.