JOURNALISM: A PILLLAR OF DEMOCRACY
Written by Millennium on May 4, 2021
AS the rest of the world commemorated World Press Freedom, history was being made as the Head of State joined in the celebration.
Journalism plays a fundamental role in the democratic process as they keep the citizenry informed and communicate emergent issues.
In recent years, journalists have also borne the brunt of an escalation of political violence.
It is therefore heartening to hear more organisations lend a voice tlfor the safety of journalists.
The Human Rights Commission ( HRC) has called for the protection and safety of journalists ahead of the forthcoming August 12, 2021 general elections.
HRC Spokesperson, Mweelwa Muleya said members of the public especially political party cadres should accord the media the due respect as the fourth estate of government after the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
Mr Muleya has since called for enhanced protection of all Journalists ahead of the August general elections.
“In a democracy such as Zambia, the government has a primary responsibility to promote and protect the right to freedom of expression without any form of interference or hindrance. The media also has a noble duty of promoting free expression of divergent and pluralistic ideas and views without any form of discrimination,” Mr. Muleya said.
He noted that government has an obligation to protect the safety of journalists to ensure an enabling environment for them to perform their duty.
“Where the lives and rights of journalists are threatened or violated, the state must take practical steps towards seeking redress for the victims while subjecting perpetrators to the due process of the law in order to end impunity,” he said.
He also called on the media to be inclusive in their programming, reporting and coverage so as to mirror Zambia as a Multi-ethnic, racial, religious, cultural and multi-party democratic state.
Mr. Muleya further said as Zambia commemorates Press Freedom Day, Journalists should continue being the frontline human rights defenders for the common good.
This year’s Press Freedom Day commemoration was graced by President Edgar Lungu who pledged Government’s commitment to upholding Press Freedom.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in Muchinga Province has saluted journalists in the region for highlighting various developmental programmes and other activities.
In an interview marking this year’s World Press Freedom Day, ZCTU Muchinga Regional Coordinator, Nondo Kasanda commended the media for playing a pivotal role in keeping the region informed on various matters of public interest.
We equally encourage journalists to be factual, free and fair when covering events.
Mr. Kasanda said journalists should strive to be professional in the execution of their duties in line with this year’s World Press Freedom Day was commemorated under the theme Information as a Public Good.
He said journalism has contributed to the development and civilization of the nation.
Mr. Kasanda added that ignorance is easily defeated by having a well-informed citizenry and that freedom of speech promotes peace and good governance.
“We only have one Zambia and it is important that we protect our mother Zambia through responsible reporting by caring and paying attention to the information we are giving the public through the media,” said Mr. Kasanda.
Mr. Kasanda says commitment from the Government to protect journalists from harassment especially during the run up to the August 12 general election, is highly commendable.
Indeed, journalist should be guaranteed as they undertake ther work. A free press ia a mark of a working democracy.