(Unedited for this blog)
All Zambians including the state and corporate institutions should be at the forefront of protecting media independence in the country. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development.
Most importantly we should guard against any restrictions on the media that could affect freedom of the press because most often they could indicate an impending assault on other democratic institutions.
All stakeholders including media institutions should stop controlling the viewpoints that should reach citizens and repress independent voices who aim to promote accountability, good governance, and economic development.
The press should also play a role in ensuring freedom of the press is protected by thoroughly investigating issues and providing balanced reporting. While there is no reason that justifies restrictions on media independence, reporting half truths has led to unnecessary assaults on the media.
The legal environment for the media should also be designed in a way that will not allow political pressures that influence reporting, and economic factors that affect access to information to thrive.
Hon. Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
May 3, 2010