Insults, phone tapping rile State

Government is troubled by the tapping of phone conversations and insults by a vice president of a political party which have gone viral on social media.

Local Government and Housing Minister Steven Kampyongo and deputy minister in the Office of the Vice President Bwalya Chungu said this when they contributed to debate on the report of the Access to Information (ATI)

Mr Kampyongo said Zambians were not interested in insults from people aspiring for higher offices if that was what media freedom meant.

He said if there was no media freedom, Government would have queried why a vice president of a political party would go on rampage insulting innocent citizens on social media and in newspapers.

Mr Kampyongo said even as MPs talked about media freedom, there must be responsibility.

Mr Chungu said Government was being careful before enacting the ATI Bill because some media houses have been abusing their freedom by tapping innocent people’s phone conversations.

He said Government was also avoiding a situation where insults from a vice president would be entertained.

Mr Chungu said Government was concerned with how some media houses had gone on rampage tapping people’s private conversations.

He said the issue of tapping people’s private conversations should also be taken into consideration before the Access to Information Bill was enacted.

“People are tapping private conversations; is that what we want? Is this the best way of using Access to Information Bill? There must be levels of responsibility even as we ask for this law.

“Mr Speaker, we are in possession of a recent recording where a vice president of a certain political party is on record insulting innocent people using unpalatable language and is that what we want in this country when we enact the Access to Information Bill,” he said.

Mr Chungu said there was need to exercise patience and responsibility before the ATI Bill could be enacted.

He also stressed the need to ensure that a thorough job on ATI Bill was done before enacting the law in the House.

Mr Chungu said the Government of President Edgar Lungu wanted to ensure that when it brings the Bill before Parliament it would have done thorough research.

He assured Parliament that the ATI Bill would be subjected to nationwide scrutiny before enactment.

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