THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia has petitioned the State and Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini against the decision to ban private media houses from covering the official opening of the eleventh National Assembly by President Michael Sata.
MISA chairperson Hellen Mwale said the media fratenity in Zambia had information that President Sata would open Parliament yesterday but that the State decided to bar all private media houses from covering the event. Ms Mwale said the media had at all times in the past been allowed to enter Parliament to cover the proceedings of the House without restriction and did not understand why some selected journalists were banned.
Only four media houses including Zambia National Broadasting Cooperation (ZNBC), Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and the Post Newspaper were yesterday accredited to cover the opening of the fourth session of the 11th National Assembly.
The petitioners, who included Muvi TV and Daily Nation Newspaper complained that on September, 16, 2014, the Clerk of the National Assembly wrote a letter directing that the members of the press to enter parliament would be selected by Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS).
Ms Mwale said despite submitting their names as directed, the petitioners had been denied permission who will cover Parliament building to enable them cover the President. She complained that their rights to freedom of the press as protected under article 20 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of Zambia cap 1 of the laws of Zambia had been infringed. “This shows that the PF government is taking the country to the one party state of running governance system,” he said.