MISA Zambia is concerned at the holding of journalists for close to two hours at Kabwata Police premises by Zambia Police Services in Lusaka, yesterday 16th September 2022.
According to reports received by MISA Zambia, close to five journalists who were covering protestors were ordered by Zambia Police Service officers to also board the police vehicle that had been deployed to pick up the protestors.
We are concerned that despite efforts by journalists to identify themselves as such, the police still insisted that the journalists accompany the police to the Kabwata Police station.
While MISA Zambia commends the Zambia Police for not placing any of the journalists in Police cells but only took time to establish who they were and later released them, we note with concern that the action by Zambia Police derailed the journalists from carrying out their dutiful mandate of providing timely information to the public.
The journalistic duty to inform the nation is key for a well-functioning society. Further, this act caused journalists to miss their deadlines and prevented them from covering other assignments assigned them.
We wish to urge the Zambia Police Service to improve its collaboration with the media by training its officers on media freedom which is enshrined in the Zambian Constitution. The journalists were within the law to cover the protestors for purposes of informing the nation.