Zambian government stops its diplomats from reading online news

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The Zambian government has stopped all its diplomats from reading online news publications, which it accuses of peddling lies about the president and his government.

The country’s vice president Guy Scott and foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba have said Zambia’s diplomats across the world should immediately stop reading online news media because they were being misled.

Over the past few months, the Zambian government has been accusing its diplomats of reading too much and believing everything that the online media in the country publishes.

Instead the southern African country’s government has directed the diplomats to listen to online news streaming by the public broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).

Kalaba said it was unfortunate that online publications have continued to spread falsehoods and paint a bad picture of Zambia to the outside world.

“Government is concerned that Zambian diplomats abroad are relying on online publications spreading falsehood as the source of news. But we are happy that streaming of ZNBC TV live on the internet will help give Zambians abroad a picture of what is happening at home,” Kalaba said.

The two senior government officials gave the directive on Monday during the opening of the 10 days heads of mission conference in Livingstone.

The country through the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has already blocked some online media publications from being accessed locally and is also in the process of introducing a law that will regulate online publications in the country.

In addition, the Zambian government has been arresting and detaining journalists working for online media as part of a crackdown.

In January this year, the deputy minister of commerce and industry offered a reward of up to $2,000 to anyone with information that will lead to journalists working for online media after they published stories and pictures of his love affairs.

While the Zambian government controls mainstream, online media have emerged as the only option for alternative news and views.

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