Zambia: Media body condemns journalist’s attack by opposition cadre

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) - The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Zambia Chapter, has condemned the brutal attack on journalist Elijah Mumba of the independent New Vision Newspaper by a named opposition cadre on Wednesday.

“It is disheartening that Police clearly showed lack of will to act despite the dire condition in which Elijah was, bleeding profusely after being hit with a brick on the head forcing onlookers to come to his rescue,” MISA Zambia chairperson Hellen Mwale said in a statement issued Thursday.

Mumba was reportedly attacked by cadre from the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).

She charged that the incident adds to the long list of brutal attacks against journalists during the run up to the general elections on 11 August in which Police have acted at a snail’s pace to effect arrests or effectively process such reports.

“MISA strongly cautions the Zambia Police service to act in a professional manner and not contribute to the erosion of the little faith Zambians still have in the Police service,” Mwale said.

“We also challenge Police Inspector-General, Kakoma Kanganja, to immediately institute disciplinary measures against the negligence displayed by the Police officers at the Police post in Chainda area (in Lusaka) where the matter was reported by Mumba as he bled profusely.”

She called on journalists at the New Vision Newspaper and other media outlets to remain steadfast and not to be discouraged as the role of journalists is crucial at such a time when the national goes to the polls.

MISA which has since engaged the New Vision Newspaper over the incident said journalists should be left to perform their duty of informing the public without such draconian hindrances as the political violence witnessed in a country that claims to espouse the values of democracy.

“Similarly, journalists must conduct themselves above board to ensure their credibility and objectivity do not come into question as this is critical to fulfilling their role in society.”

Mwale reiterated that the classification of an election as being free and fair also depends on the level of media freedom and freedom of expression which are currently under threat in Zambia as evidenced by the restriction of fundamental freedoms, closure of newspapers seen to be critical of the state, abuse of the public media, persecution of journalists and political violence to mention a few activities as documented by MISA.

She said the institution has since alerted several election observer missions over this imminent threat to the holding of a free and fair election.
-0- PANA MM/VAO 4Aug2016

04 august 2016 15:41:33

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