ZAMBIA’S government, led by President Hakainde Hichilema who came to power in August, has been accused of attempting to muzzle the media by a consortium of 10 civil society groups.
It comes after police warned and cautioned a journalist from Kenmark Broadcasting Network (KBN) after the privately owned television station aired a story about a presidential aide.
In the report the aide is heard telling a top civil servant that a member of the opposition should be “fixed” in an audio clip that has since gone viral.
The government has not commented on the story, but advised the media to be “ethical and professional”.
The civil society consortium suggested the government be more concerned about dealing with the revelations rather than criticising the press.
The statement also noted their disappointed that a member of the opposition had been cautioned for using hate speech under the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act, legislation the president criticised while in opposition and promised to repeal.
There is increasing scrutiny on Mr Hichilema’s government with many Zambians calling for more tangible results. He won elections promising to tackle corruption and to end the country’s economic crisis.
The price of commodities has continued to rise after the government removed subsidies as part of a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – increasing tensions. – BBC