Livingstone Mayor Fred Sikazwe has called on media practitioners in Zambia to uphold integrity and professionalism ahead of 2016 polls.
And Livingstone Press Club president Brian Hatyoka has expressed concern with increasing cases of journalists being harassed and attacked by political cadres.
Mr. Sikazwe said that as the country was approaching 2016 general elections, there would be many complaints of media harassment and intimidation from both public and private media practitioners but that journalists should remain firm.
He said the Patriotic front (PF) government believed in a free media as a cornerstone of democracy and therefore it would not tolerate attacks on the media by political cadres either from the ruling party or the opposition.
Speaking during the end of year party for the Livingstone Press Club on Sunday night, Mr. Sikazwe said that those who will be found wanting would be arrested and prosecuted by the courts of law.
“We want our journalists and other media practitioners to operate in a peaceful environment as they cover 2016 general elections. I am also urging journalists and other media practitioners in Zambia to remain non-partisan and avoid being used by politicians for political mileage ahead of next year’s elections.”
“Don’t accept to be bribed for you to tilt your reporting towards certain candidates or political parties. You should remain ethical and cover all political parties which are registered in the country to promote a free and fair election,” he said
He told the press club members that they should be ethical, objective, accurate and professional in their reporting as irresponsible journalism could create chaos in the country.
Mr. Sikazwe has also urged media houses which paid meagre salaries to seek ways of motivating practitioners by improving their conditions of service.
Earlier, Livingstone Press Club president Brian Hatyoka said that journalists from both public and private media were never spared from political harassment and attacks.
He said that journalists are usually attacked by cadres despite their role of informing the nation through their reporting.
“We are seeking for Government’s protection ahead of the 2016 elections. The media and politicians should work together as partners in development and should not treat each other as enemies.