World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Protest Campaign - Zambia, 27 January 2011

Protest Campaign - Zambia, 27 January 2011

Article ID:

12780

WAN-IFRA has written to Zambian President Rupiah Banda to condemn a series of recent attacks against the independent media.

His Excellency President Rupiah Banda
Luanda, Zambia

27 January 2011

 

Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the arrest of two journalists, the closure of a radio station and the banning of radio phone-in programmes.

According to reports, on 14 January police forced their way into Radio Lyambai in Western Province and confiscated equipment including computers and a radio console, resulting in the station going off the air. Assistant Station Manager Nyambe Muyumbana was arrested for producing “seditious materials” before being released on police bail.

The station was raided after it aired an advert for a banned meeting about the Barotse Agreement, a deal which guaranteed a degree of autonomy for Barotseland when Zambia gained independence in 1964 but which was soon abandoned by the government. Following recent calls for its reinstatement, on 11 January the government banned all phone-in shows on the subject.

On 17 January Mwala Kalaluka, a reporter for the privately owned The Post, was detained by police in Kabwe when he was overheard having a conversation about the Barotse Agreement. The police questioned Mr Kalaluka and asked him to reveal his sources, which he refused. Mr Kalaluka reportedly remains in detention.

We respectfully remind you that jailing journalists for carrying out their professional duties and banning the discussion of issues of national interest violate numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.'

We also respectfully bring to your attention the Declaration of Table Mountain, endorsed at the 60th World Newspaper Congress and 14th Editors Forum in Cape Town in June 2007. The Declaration calls on African states to promote the highest standards of press freedom, uphold the principles proclaimed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other protocols, and provide constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press.

We call on you to take all necessary steps to ensure that Mr Kalaluka is immediately released and that all charges against him and Mr Muyumbana are dropped. We ask you to lift the ban on discussion of the Barotse Agreement and to do everything possible to ensure that in future your country fully respects international standards of press freedom.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


Gavin O’Reilly
President
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Xavier Vidal-Folch
President
World Editors Forum

 


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


cc: Faith Pansy Tlakula, African Commission Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Enc. Declaration of Table Mountain

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2011-01-27 01:00

WAN-IFRA’s Declaration of Table Mountain is an earnest appeal to all Africans, particularly those in power, to recognise that political and economic progress flourishes in a climate where the press is free and independent of governmental, political or economic control. Read more ...

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...

The African Press Network (RAP21) is a digital network that supports a strong independent press throughout Africa by sharing, distributing and exchanging information between newspaper publishers, editors, journalists and human rights advocates. Read more ...