The Media in Zambia celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2014 Theme: “Media Freedom for a Better Future; shaping the post 2015 development agenda”

The Freedom Statue, symbolic of a free Zambia inclusive of free media.

The Freedom Statue, symbolic of a free Zambia inclusive of free media.

Press Freedom is the freedom of communication and expression through mediums including various electronic media and published material, this freedom is free for all. However, in many countries in the world this freedom is not observed and journalists and media workers are often targets of violence and undue pressure, they often face intimidation and imprisonment in order to not speak out.

The media in Zambia came together to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 1, 2014 in Chazanga Compound ,Lusaka, where they handed over a house to a vulnerable widow and her children as part of their corporate social responsibility. The house was built through donations made by the United Nations System in Zambia and the Print and Electronic media, UN Habitat facilitated the construction of the two bedroom structure.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Janet Rogan said, “World Press Freedom Day is the day for us to all to reflect on the risks and sacrifices being made all over the world for the sake of freedom of thought and expression, and to consider how each of us in our own way can help create and protect a safe environment for dialogue, where all can speak freely and openly, without fear of reprisal, even if our ideas and ideologies differ.” She further went on to remind us all that the UN general Assembly has equivocally condemned all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers.

At the same function the acting Minister of Information Hon. Fackson Shamenda, MP urged the media to work with government in enlightening the general public in fostering development and encouraged them to be responsible in their reporting through well researched information as opposed to speculating on issues that were not verified.

At a separate function the Hon. Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Poniso Njeulu, MP, during the media stakeholders conference held on , 16th May, 2014 at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, empathized on the localized “Free Media Fortifies Development“ talked about the transformations that the Zambian media industry has undergone seen independence, to include among others; opposition parties and all stakeholders in the governance of the country now have a fair share of media coverage, there has been the establishment of The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and Zambia Media Council as well as the Access to information (ATI) Bill which is currently underway.

Both the UN theme “Media Freedom For a Better Future: shaping the post – 2015 Development Agenda” and the localized one “Free Media Fortifies Development” bring out the idea of using the media to help ordinary people to share ideas to debate needs and to challenge old assumptions as part of the global debate on the kind of new sustainable development goals that should succeed the current Millennium Development Goals after 2015.