Freedom of expression, media cornerstone to democracy – Mushala

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— Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala says freedom of expression and media is a cornerstone to the tenets of democracy.

Mr Mushala stated that it was for this reason that the draft constitution which was currently being worked on has a provision for the guarantee of freedom of the press and the media, access to information and the regulation of the media.

He was speaking yesterday at the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day whose theme is’’ Safety for Journalists and Media Workers’’.

‘’Your profession is a noble one and requires not the faint hearted ones as our destiny in our humble endeavours and day to day life is moulded by you,’’ he added.

Mr Mushala has appreciated that no lives of journalists have been lost in Eastern Province and in Zambia as a whole in their line of duty.

He expressed sadness that in other parts of the world journalists lost their lives for disseminating news and information to the public.

Mr Mushala has since urged the media to remain focused, fair and firm as they perform their public relations duties with love and passion as they feed the nation with the current affairs.

‘’This implies the need to deal with issues such as corruption, organised crime, development and an effective framework for the rule of law’’, he said.

He further stated that the existence of laws and ethical conduct should always prevail and guide the journalists to ensure factual and investigative reporting was upheld.

And speaking at the same occasion Chipata Press Club Board Member, Raymond Banda, said it has been difficult for journalists in the region to conduct investigative reporting because of various challenges that include lack of financial resources and transport.

Mr Banda said there was need to address the challenges if the general public was to be enlightened on the social and economic programmes that were being undertaken in the country.

He also stated that some political parties have also been known to harass journalists particularly during elections.

Mr Banda, however, stated that it was gratifying that the current government policy was to ensure that the media operated in a free and peaceful environment.

‘’In fact there has been a remarkable improvement in the dissemination of balanced news especially from the public media,’’ he said.

Mr Banda further said securing the safety and freedom of expression of journalists and media workers could not be overemphasised especially if vices such as corruption were to be exposed.