MISA Zambia has condemned a police officer for cocking and pointing an AK47 gun at Diggers reporter Julia Malunga as she was documenting Chishimba Kambwili’s extraction from Lunte Lodge in Kitwe on Saturday.
In a statement, MISA Zambia chairperson Helen Mwale said it was saddening that attacks on the media by the police had continued.
“MISA Zambia condemns in the strongest terms the death threat on News Diggers Journalist Julia Malunga by a police officer in Kitwe yesterday while on assignment.
According to the reports reaching MISA Zambia, an unidentified police officer cocked and pointed his rifle at Malunga, threatening to shoot her for documenting Mr Kambwili’s extraction from Lunte Lodge. As MiSA Zambia, we are saddened by such continued attacks on the media by police officers because it has barely been three days when a similar incident happened in which IWave Station manager Lucy Kaonga was picked up by the police in Chingola for questioning following a radio programme that was aired after news broke out that Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) had allegedly discharged sulphur dioxide which left 42 employees and several pupils from KCM
Nchanga Trust Secondary School hospitalised. As if not enough, the police officers went further to disrupt a program on air,” Mwale stated.
“We would like to remind the police and the public at large that a free and independent media is crucial to the development of democracy in the country and holding power to account. The police must not protect the powerful who harm the poor and voiceless people but protect the lives of the poor people and voiceless.”
She reiterated the importance of a vibrant media.
“We wish to restate that without a vibrant media, the public’s right to receive information on matters of public interest from a variety of sources cannot be fulfilled. Further, MISA Zambia would like urge the police to protect lives as it is its core mandate to do so in the country. “We are calling upon the Inspector-General of Police Mr Kakoma Kanganja and Police Commissioner on the Copper belt Mrs Charity Katanga to curb this lawlessness by the police. They should not view the media as an enemy but rather a stakeholder in defending the lives and rights of citizens in Zambia,” stated Mwale.
“Nevertheless, MISA Zambia calls on Journalists to remain strong as they continue to carry out their duties of defending the poor and helpless from the powerful in our society who see the poor as objects that do not deserve the right to life and protection. MiSA Zambia shall always stand with the media in all situations because the media is the watchdog of society.”