THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) should not forget that irresponsible journalism sparked off the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and Government will not allow that to happen in Zambia, says information minister Chishimba Kambwili.
Mr Kambwili said the journalism currently being practiced by some media houses in Zambia posed a big threat to the security of the nation.
He however said that the PF government would not allow reckless journalism to wreak havoc in Zambia under the guise of enjoying press and media freedoms.
In an interview yesterday, Mr. Kambwili said it was clear that LAZ was anti-Government and would not support the PF administration in ensuring that freedoms of the media and expression were responsibly enjoyed by all Zambians.
Mr Kambwili was reacting to a LAZ statement that strongly rebuked the minister over his recent threats to cancel operating licences of some private radio stations allegedly promoting anarchy in Zambia.
LAZ president George Chisanga accused the minister of violating the Zambian Constitution by advocating policies that gaged the press and the media in a multi-party democracy.
But Mr Kambwili retorted: “They must learn that irresponsible journalism is what sparked off genocide in Rwanda; it is what caused tribes to start killing each other in Rwanda. Is that what the people of Zambia want to take place in their country?
‘‘The answer is ‘no’ and therefore as a responsible Government we shall not allow the freedom of the press or the media to be abused by anyone,” said Mr. Kambwili.
Mr. Kambwili said it was not shocking for the PF to see LAZ being in the forefront supporting illegalities instead of guiding the media and the nation on important legal matters that border on freedoms of the media and expression and its limitations.
He said it was clear from Mr Chisanga’s statement that the association did not see anything wrong in the media abusing, deforming and insulting people in the manner some media houses were doing under the guise of freedom of expression.
Mr. Kambwili said it was sad that the media today was used for insulting and promoting hate in the nation, adding that there should be limits to the enjoyment of freedom of expression.
“Look at the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) and MISA. These two institutions are highly compromised. How do you expect PAZA to speak against the Post if it does wrong things or breaches ethics of journalism like they have been doing when PAZA is on the Post payroll?