The ruthless illegal shutting down of online publications under the PF administration points to excessive intolerance of criticism and fear of the unknown by the tribal regime of President Sata.
The savage and brutal closure of the Zambian online publication like the Zambian watch dog, the Zambia reports and the Barotse post is clearly un-front and assault on democracy as the free press and media freedoms are essential ingredients in the growth of democracy and human development.
We remain pessimistic on the commitment of this regime on the actual enactment of the access to information bill. Our view is that the regime will continue to play hide and seek. At best we think the regime is merely playing to the gallery and buying time.
No one believes that any responsible government committed to a free press and access to information can at short notice spend millions of Zambian Kwacha to procure high tech equipment to block and kill the free flow of information amongst the citizenry.
Most of the online publicans have operated freely in the past under the previous MMD administrations.
We think China has not been very helpful in helping cultivate a sense of responsible leadership amongst their African trading partners. The continued proliferation and selling and supplying of various eavesdropping gadgets and apparatuses that goes to stifle and block various forms of freedom remains a source of grave concern. Africa should be assisted to grow to their fullest potential in various social and political freedoms without outside interference. We regret to say that China rather than being a good friend and a solution for Africa on one hand has become part of the problem on the other hand by supplying despotic regimes with high technical gadgets and various accessories with which regimes are using to mercilessly interfere in the enjoyment of the various forms of freedom.
We implore and dare the Zambian government to officially unblock the online publications as a gesture of goodwill and prerequisite to commitment of freedom of information and also to demonstrate genuine commitment to media freedom.
The PF is a beneficiary of a free press and therefore must be seen to respect and support institutions that help disseminate information to the public.
We welcome the announcement by government to start giving state funding to private media houses. This is a welcome development and initiative which should be supported by everyone committed to the growth of the private media.