MISA warns govt against unilateral arrests of journalists

The acquittal of Kabwe- based freelance journalist Wilson Pondamali is a wake-up call to all politicians not to abuse State power through courts of law, says Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chairperson Hellen Mwale.

Ms Mwale said the Media organization welcomed the court’s decision to acquit Pondamali of all charges, adding that trumped up charges against journalists by those in power will not help Zambia develop.

“We welcome the court’s decision to acquit the journalist and this has proved to the world that trumped up charges against journalists will not help Zambia develop” she said.

In a press statement Ms Mwale further said the development was a clear testimony that finally press freedom was winning in Zambia.

She urged politicians to desist from harassing journalists and called upon the state to drop all charges in the courts against six Lusaka-based journalists involving Chanda Chimba III, Thomas Zyambo, Richard Sakala, MacDonald Chipenzi, Simon Mwanza and former Evelyn Hone college media lecturer Clayson Hamasaka.

Ms Mwale further warned political figures that were issuing threats to Zambian Journalists both local and foreign to desist from doing so as that was an infringement on the freedoms of the individuals. And on his facebook page, Pondamali has vowed to continue fighting for press freedom proclaiming that from now onwards no journalist will ever be persecuted again.

He  will soon hold a press conference where he will tell the nation the way forward.

Kabwe Magistrate’s court acquitted Pondamali on the charge of possession of military pamphlets after the State failed to prove the allegation against him. It was the fourth charge the journalist has been acquitted this year