POLITICAL tension between Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND)
cadres is an issue of concern, United States (US) Embassy Charge d’Affaires David Young has said.
Mr Young said the US embassy has on a number of occasions engaged Government, civil society organisations and other stakeholders on political violence.
“I read in the papers that PF cadres stormed a radio station in Eastern Province and disrupted an MMD official who apparently spoke ill of the PF. Now this ought not to be so,” Mr Young said.
He was speaking in Lusaka on Thursday when he hosted a luncheon for editors, news managers and journalists.
The US embassy also screened a movie entitled `All the President’s men’ which depicts American politics in the 1970s and the role journalists played.
Mr Young said violence by political cadres intimidates people who want to exercise their right to participate in politics.
He implored journalists to highlight political violence.
“Journalists are doing a great job in Zambia and being a journalist is a sacred calling,” Mr Young said.
He said freedom of the press is essential for the growth of democracy.
Meanwhile, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) director general Chibamba Kanyama said Zambia is not yet ready for the Access to Information law.
“I know you will be disappointed with me but I think as a country we are not yet ready for the Access to Information law. Yes it is a good law but in wrong hands, especially those who hide in cyber space, it is deadly,” Mr Kanyama said.
He said there is need to improve the capacity of journalists before enacting the law.
But Times of Zambia managing director Godfrey Malama said the Access to Information law is necessary.
“Measures have been put in place to ensure that people’s privacy is protected. For example, one’s health status cannot be accessed easily,” Mr Malama said.
And Jane Chirwa, a member of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), said the law is needed for the advancement of media freedom in the country.