GOVERNMENT has warned that it will not hesitate to invoke the relevant legal provisions if some people decide to abuse the internet to peddle falsehoods as Zambia heads to the polls on Thursday.
And government has also warned that the law will not spare anyone that harasses the media in the course of their duties.
Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga was speaking when he handed over a video camera and a mobile phone to a ZANIS reporter based in Ikeleng’i District, North-Western Province, who was attacked by alleged UPND cadres in his course of duty in the area.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services bought the items as a replacement for the items which were stolen from Victor Mwila during the attack.
This is according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Press and Public Relations Unit, Monday.
Malupenga reiterated the call for responsible use of the internet as the country heads towards elections on August 12.
He said government had a duty to ensure that peace and stability were maintained and would not allow any breakdown of the law and order.
“Government, therefore, expects citizens to use the internet responsibly. But if some people choose to abuse the internet to mislead and misinform, government will not hesitate to invoke relevant legal provisions to forestall any breakdown of law and order as the country passes through the election period,” Malupenga said.
On political violence, Malupenga observed that President Edgar Lungu’s decision to deploy the military personnel to support the Zambia Police in maintaining security was bearing fruit.
He added that government was happy that since the military was deployed, there had been no serious incidences of violence.
Meanwhile, Malupenga said the Ministry decided to replace the items that were stolen from Mwila in order to avoid disruption in his reportorial work especially during this time when electoral activities were at their peak ahead of the elections.
He further warned that the law would not spare anyone that harasses the media in the course of their duties.
“I wish to send a strong warning out there, however, that the law will not spare anyone that harasses the media in the course of their duties. The freedom and safety of the media to inform, educate and entertain the public is to be respected and upheld by all, as guaranteed in the laws of the land,” said Malupenga.
Mwila thanked government and fellow media practitioners for their support during the traumatic ordeal he went through.
On July 23, 2021, Mwila, while on duty, was attacked by alleged UPND cadres.
During the attack, Mwila suffered serious physical injuries in which a video camera, a mobile phone and some money were also stolen from him.