Zambia Community Media Forum (ZaCoMeF) has said that it is shocked at the audacity of the Zambia Police to instruct community media not to welcome opposition leaders into their radio stations.
Mongu Central Police Officer in Charge, a Mr J.B Kasanda has written via a letter of June 16th, 2014, to community radios stations in Mongu not to entertain opposition leaders.
ZaCoMeF Board Chairman Luckson Hamooya said yesterday in an interview that Zambia had not declared a state of emergency for the police to infringe the right of the media to operate freely which was enshrined and protected in the constitution.
“As ZaCoMeF, we would like to remind the Zambia Police and Mongu police officer in charge J B. Kasanda in particular and other political players that Zambia is a democratic nation in which freedom of speech and the right to share and impart information is guaranteed by the current Zambian constitution,” Mr Hamooya said.
He said it was not the duty of the Zambia Police to dictate how a radio stations should operate and to decide for the radio station who they should feature.
Mr Hamooya said the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should chastise the Zambia Police and other enemies of press freedom and the freedom of the media.
He said the community media had offered an important media platform to communities to debate and dialogue on issues affecting their communities, and a platform that all development players, including the republican President and his ministers have used to inform and educate many communities.
“Community media use funded programmes to raise resources to pay their staff, repair equipment and sustain their operations, and we advise those that do not agree with the views of funded programmes to also pay for their own radio programme and discuss issues instead of infringing on the freedom of the press and individuals to express themselves.