Freedom of media article Article 38 (1) adopted

Zambia draft Constitution

THE Bill of Rights thematic group at the on-going national constitution convention in Lusaka has adopted Article 38 (1) on freedom of the media in the draft Constitution and made some minor amendments guaranteeing media freedom in the draft document.
And the group has also rejected Article 28 on the controversial death penalty provision in the draft constitution.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia executive director Pukuta Mwanza -led group resolved that “State media” as spelt out in Clause 4 (a) of the current constitution be amended to read “public media”.
The delegates contended that the phrase “State media” can subject public media to manipulation by the State.
They also resolved that Clause 4 (c) of the Article, which has the words “afford fair opportunity”, must be amended and improved to read “public media shall afford fair coverage for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions”.
Contributing to deliberations, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Amos Malupenga said equal coverage and fair coverage are different because individuals or institutions are treated differently by society.
Mr Malupenga said it is impossible to give equal coverage and cited prominence as a news yardstick in the case of giving coverage to a Head of State and an ordinary citizen.
Mr Malupenga agreed with the delegates who rejected a proposal to have the words “divergent and dissenting views” as this is aimed at accommodating people who disagree with some issues and opinions.
The group has also adopted Article 36 on freedom of expression while Article 35 (5) on freedom of religion and conscience has been deleted from the draft Constitution.
This was after subjecting the matter to a vote among the delegates.
And the group has rejected Article 28 on the death penalty.
Clause 1 of Article 28 states: “A person has subject to clauses 2 and 3 the right to life, which begins at conception.”
Clause 2 states: “A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorised by this Constitution or any other law” while clause 4 says: “A person who is sentenced to death has the right to seek a pardon or commutation of the sentence.”
Rev Mwanza acknowledged the delegates’ unanimous rejection of the controversial death sentence clause.
He, however, noted that during provincial constitutional conventions, delegates from all the provinces except North-Western Province wanted the death penalty clause to be retained in the constitution