US trip a success, says Kapeya

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MINISTER of  Information and Broadcasting Services  MwansaKapeya has described the trip he undertook to the USA with other officials from the ministry on a comparative study tour of freedom of information as a success.
And Mr Kapeya has been conferred with an honorary free man of the city of Pensacola, Florida.
Mr Kapeya, who is chief Government spokesperson, said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the study tour helped him familiarise himself with the policy on media freedom.
Mr Kapeya explained that while in the USA, his delegation visited various institutions in Washington DC and Florida to compare the policy on media freedom and how Zambia can  benefit.
“We wanted to compare with what our friends have and learn from them. Here [Zambia] we have prepared the document and are satisfied with it, it now remains with the task force to present the document to Parliament,” the minister said.
He said his team observed that the policy Government is formulating on media freedom is more advanced than the one in the US.
The minister observed that in the US, media freedom is focused on the executive wing of government and in particular, the office of the President.
He said Government will compare the report of the consultants with what has been gathered from the tour in the United States.
Mr Kapeya, however, said institutions that border on security will not be subjected to the policy as this can compromise the security of the country.
He said it is important for Zambians to have access to information, especially on public expenditure.
Mr Kapeya said unlike in the past where Government advertised mines and sold council houses without clearly publicising how much was raised, President Sata’s administration will run the affairs of the country differently.
He saidGovernment needs to set aside funds to carry out a vigorous campaign to sensitise the masses on the Freedom of Information Bill.
Mr Kapeya said it is important to educate Zambians on the matter to avoid the policy being a “white elephant”.
And Mr Kapeya and members of his delegation, who included, among others outgoing permanent secretary George Zulu and director of press Isaac Chipampe, were granted free man of the city of Pensacola.

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