Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chairperson Hellen Mwale says the organization is saddened by reports that seven masked assailants on Saturday stormed Pasme radio station in Petauke district and disrupted a programmme which was supposed to feature UPND officials.

And Mwale has condemned some Livingstone City Council police officer for attacking a Prime TV reporter who was filming them as they confiscated food items from a vendor.

In a statement, Tuesday, Mwale said the two incidents were regrettable.

“We are saddened by reports of harassment of Elias Limwanya, a journalist from Prime TV based in Livingstone by some officers from the Livingstone City Council police. An incident which occurred on Monday, 7th October 2019 when the journalist was filming the officers confiscate food items from a suspected vendor. We understand that in an attempt to stop the journalist from filming, the officers tried to grab the camera and in the process led to its damage,” read the statement.

“Another incident of concern was the harassment of Joseph Tembo, a presenter at Pasme radio station in Petauke district. This occurred on Saturday, 5th October 2019 during the airing of a live radio programme dubbed ‘Let the people Talk’. We are gravely concerned that about seven masked assailants stormed the radio station and disrupted the airing of the radio programme just when it was about to go live. The programme was to feature United Party for National Development (UPND) officials. We therefore call on authorities to address the security of the media and ensure that no assailant and media freedom violator is left to go scot free.”

Mwale emphasized that media freedom was an essential ingredient of any democracy.

“Needless to say, media freedom and freedom of expression are cardinal to the well-functioning of democracy and reports of assailants and law enforces violating these rights and freedoms have no regard for the Zambian Constitution which the Zambian people gave themselves as the supreme law of the land. Devoid of media freedom and freedom of speech, political parties cannot market their manifesto whilst media will not hold government accountable and play their informative role. This will lead to citizens making uninformed decisions and unable to participate in governance and choose leaders of their choice,” stated Mwale.

“We wish to reiterate that no party in Zambia must impose its leadership on the Zambian people. We further wish to remind all media houses to be vigilant and make sure to identify culprits of media freedom violations and report such cases to both police and MISA Zambia in order to bring such culprits to book.”