The Post shooting, ‘a poorly edited Nigerian movie’-Phiri

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Most crime scene investigators will quickly brush off the shooting at the post newspaper as a stage managed act with a possible motive to gain the much needed popularity they seem to have lost. Firstly the location of the post newsroom makes it impossible for a gun to be fired from outside the newspaper premises, the angle is too tight for a bullet to get over the wall fence, and dip enough to hit the ceiling. The shot must be fired from inside the premises, Secondly, the entry hole seems much too large for a bullet entry point, so large infact, its larger than the exit point, a mere impossibly. The floor too, seems to have a hole from a “falling bullet”. Puzzling. All in all ,it seems like a very poorly edited nigerian movie. Well whatever the truth may be, we need to ask questions,how then did we get here?, to a point were we paint Lusaka like it is a part of war torn syria to get a point across.The independent media has been chocked nearly to suffocation by the very person appointed to safeguard the interest of media freedom. We have heard the Honourable Minister of information promise to close the post newspaper and other media houses that have different views from that of which he regards as pro government.May i remind the Honourable that a few years ago , whilst in opposition the Honourable did bitterly complain about media bias against the PF, but today he is U-turning and promising to shut down down these media houses. Surely if the government media houses were fair and unbiased, the General public would not have been keen on independent media. Whilst in opposition, the PF did promise us that Media reform would be a top priority, but today ,4 years on we still have constant threats on the media. We are still fighting for the freedom of information bill.

 

A free media is cardinal because it highlights areas where Government can do better, a free media inspires investor confidence , a free media builds democracy and so on. Whatever the truth is behind the post newspaper shooting, it stems from a crack down on the post and constant threats on the newspaper and its editor in chief. We want media freedom as a people, and we want it now. A democratic dispensation like this country, after 24 years of multi-party democracy and the government is still fighting with the media. Government should instead focus on the real issues brought out by these media houses instead of constantly threatening the media and opposition leaders for bringing to light certain issues. we ask Hon Kambwili to stick to issue based politics as opposed to warnings and threats and the occasional “beauty of madam nalumango”. If the independent media has published falsehoods, the court doors are always open for the aggrieved parties to sue for defamation.Media freedom is key to national development and hence they shouldn’t live in fear, regardless of how unpleasant their story may be. Even as we head to our 51st indepence day celebration, the freedom of information bill must be a key priority in building a truly free and democratic state, as the PF itself promised us during the campaigns.

Niza Phiri

 

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