THERE IS NO SECURITY WITHOUT MEDIA FREEDOM, SAYS KAYANDA

MISA Zambia has commended stakeholders working tirelessly to ensure a safe and friendly operating environment for media.

Speaking at a review meeting on the safety of journalists in the physical space and online, MISA national director Austin Kayanda noted that surveillance and digital attack technologies are becoming less expensive making journalists increasingly vulnerable to digital attacks.

In a speech read on his behalf by MISA programs manager Jane Chirwa, kayanda also noted that journalists in the country are still facing violence and intimidation for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression.

“Journalists in Zambia are still facing violence and intimidation for exercising their fundamental human rights to freedom of expression. The range of threats they are confronted with are random detention, offline and online harassment and intimidation. Increasingly journalists are facing harassments online, such as hate speech, cyber bulling, cyber stalking, public shaming and intimidation to mention but a few,” he said.

“Surveillance and digital attach technologies are also becoming less expensive making journalists increasingly vulnerable to digital attacks. With the widespread availability of surveillance software and broadly defined legislatives acts have been seen as working so silence digital dissent, prosecute whistleblowers and expand arbitrary surveillance across multiple platforms.”

Kayanda added that threats against media freedom, safety of journalists and freedom of expression is part of the backsliding of democracy.

“Threats of violence and attacks against journalists create climate of fear for media actors, impending the free circulation of information, opinions and ideas for all. The uneven targeting of women journalists and other women media actors through structural sexual and gender-based violence, harassment and abuse is of deep concern to us and this runs the risk of silencing women’s voices,” kayanda said.

“Not only that, also threats against media freedom, safety of journalists and freedom of expression is part of the backsliding of democracy. The right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the ability to access reliable information are cornerstones of a democratic society and there is indeed no security without media freedom.”

He said the role that journalists play in exposing corruption, holding power to account and informing society of the truth is central to a democratic, free society.

“MISA Zambia with support from UNESCO is dedicated to promoting the safety of journalists which is the ability for journalists and media practitioners to receive, produce and share information without facing any physical or online threats. The role that journalists play in exposing corruption, holding power to account and informing the society the truth is absolute central to a democratic, free society. I would like to commend all the stakeholders and organizations that are working tirelessly to ensure a safe and friendly operating environment for the media in Zambia.” Said Kayanda.

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