By Scoop Reporter
THIS thuggish behaviour by PF officials of intimidating, disrupting, and closing of media houses that carry alternative views is totally unacceptable and an assault to our cherished media freedoms and freedom of expression, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has charged.
Commenting on the cancellation of his paid for programme on Mpika Radio by District Commissioner Moses Katebe two days ago, Mr. Hichilema says it is not the UPND’s fault that PF leaders fail to engage their citizens through regular press briefings and interactions with media houses.
He says this is because the PF has run out of ideas.
“In our case, we view it as a patriotic duty to engage our citizens through various media platforms on a regular basis in order to appreciate their daily challenges and chart a way forward with them. Furthermore, these media houses have equally not been spared by the current economic hardships we are all experiencing.
“That is why out of our own volition, we elect to pay for these programmes as a way to sustain their operations in terms of emoluments, equipment maintenance, and payments to various statutory bodies such as ZRA, NAPSA, IBA among others,” Mr. Hichilema said.
He says ordinarily, media houses are supposed to feature all players for free, but that the UPND takes the pleasure to pay because it fully understands the challenges they go through.
“It is therefore absolutely unacceptable for PF officials and thugs to meddle in the operations of these media houses because in the end it denies them the much-needed resources which they use to keep their businesses afloat. Left unchecked, this can lead to unemployment in the country among our youth.
“We demand that the Zambia Police immediately institute investigations and arrest the culprits and further urge the IBA to be impartial by ensuring all stakeholders are allowed to use the radio-waves without interruption from political thugs,” he said.