Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has hailed the Zambian media practitioners for being the voice of the community but regretted the deteriorating working environment especially under the PF government.
Speaking on Friday night when he officiated at the 12th MISA Zambia annual Media awards at Intercontinental hotel, Bishop Mpundu said the media was the voice of the community and that attacks on the institution were unnecessary in a democracy. He called on media houses to consider insurance policies from attacks on their journalists.
The Bishop also called on government to heed people’s calls for a people driven constitution to be adopted through a referendum if President Michael Sata was governing by the Ten Commandments he proclaimed he was.
He said the PF government was being insincere on the constitution making process which has eluded Zambians since independence because of selfishness among politicians.
“When the British were leaving there was a constitution making process and the first constitution was adopted by a referendum which was only removed in 1969 after people were hoodwinked to allow national assembly make adopt the constitution and two years later there was declaration of Zambia being a one party state. All this was happening because only a few selfish individuals took away the rights and liberties of the majority Zambians,” Bishop Mpundu said.
He said President Sata had sworn by the Bible to rule the country on Ten Commandments but the leadership exhibited was far from the Biblical scope and did not bring glory to God.
“God gave us the Ten Commandments and one of the commandments says that you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. How can you bring glory to God when you continue to cause pain on your friends and yet proclaim to love and worship God whom you have not seen? If this country is ruled by the principle of the Ten Commandments there must be love and tolerance as opposed the hatred we are seeing.
Meanwhile information minister Dr. Joseph Katema shunned the media awards but MISA chairperson Hellen Mwale said the absence of government officials at such an event though regrettable could not hamper the programmes.
Ms. Mwale urged government to utilize such occasions to engage into dialogue on matters that pertain the media fraternity, she stated that the minister was invited and confirmed that the government would be represented but decided not to come.
Muvi TV’s Mwape Kumwenda won the Best TV coverage award for bringing out the issue of illegal land allocation in Lusaka and risked her life amid heavily armed PF cadres while Faith Kandaba of ZNBC won the MISA media freedom award.