Posted by: APO | 12 July 2010

Zambian government demands apology from The Post newspaper



Zambian government demands apology from The Post newspaper


July 12, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 7 July 2010 Information Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha demanded for an apology from The Post Newspaper and Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata for allegedly perpetrating lies against President Rupiah Banda and his government.


According to a statement made available to the media on 7 July 2010, Chief Government Spokesperson alleged that the newspaper, in its desperate and fruitless campaign against President Rupiah Banda’s government had continued to peddle lies through PF leader Michael Sata.


Lieutenant General Shikapwasha who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister said the conduct of The Post Newspaper left much to be desired even though it was in the forefront of calling for media self regulation.


“I shudder to imagine this is the newspaper in the forefront of calling for voluntary media regulation: to volunteer more lies unrestrained?” Shikapwasha asked.


He said Government wished to assure the people of Zambia that it had a duty to protect them from falsehoods and disinformation because such had potential to breed disharmony and disunity in the nation. Shikapwasha has since demanded The Post and Michael Sata to apologise unreservedly to the nation for the alleged false information.


“To this effect, Government demands that The Post Newspaper and Mr Sata apologies, unreservedly for the lies they have been perpetuating against his Excellency President Rupiah Bwezani Banda and his government. This is the correct and honorable thing to do”, the Minister stated.


He said the Newspaper had conducted itself so unethically and unprofessionally that requests for an apology or retraction of falsehoods it had published, have gone unheeded in the past. Shikapwasha alleged that it had not been too long ago that The Post, quoting their usual non-existing sources, lied that South African President Jacob Zuma was not aware of President Banda’s visit to that country when in fact, the two heads of state were meeting at the time in South Africa.


The Minister said government proved this fact, but that as usual, the tabloid never retracted their false story.


He further said at the height of the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) debates, the paper lied that Zambia has had a 50 plus one electoral provision in the constitution. Shikapwasha said the paper never retracted the lie even when it was clearly proved that this had never been the case in the country’s constitutional history.


“And few days ago, State House Chief of Staff Dr Austin Sichinga, in a statement, dismissed more lies by The Post Newspaper where it was shamelessly alleged that Chadian President Idris Derby Itno, had sneaked into the country and held a meeting with President Banda in Mfuwe”, He stated.


Shikapwasha said Dr Sichinga also said that President Banda never flew to Cape Town for review of his knee on his way for a state visit in Namibia recently.


He said press freedom existed in Zambia due to government’s reform of media law and policy. He said journalists should report the truth on issues of public concern.




Zambia’s PF Leader Michael Sata has alleged through a live phone-in radio programme that the Chadian President Idris Derby had sneaked into the country to discuss business with the President of Zambia. However following a response from government three weeks after the allegation was made through a press statement from State House Chief of Staff Austin Sichinga, Sata was quoted in The Post stating that he would not withdraw his allegation and asked why government had taken so long to refute his allegations.


He further alleged in the same story published on 7 July 2010 that Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Dickson Jere had issued instructions to the state owned Times of Zambia that the story that President Derby had visited the country secretly should not be published.


Jere refuted the claims in a statement he issued on 7 July 2010.




Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)


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