The International Federation of Journalists has condemned a series of violent attacks against journalists during elections in Zambia.
Seven journalists from four media houses - The Mast, News Diggers, Radio Phoenix and Prime Television - were attacked, beaten and threatened by suspected United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres around midnight on Tuesday, 5 June, while heading to the vote counting centre of the Chilanga by- elections.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which represents 600,000 journalists around the world, supported the Zambia Union of Journalists’ (ZUJ), condemnation of “this violent and cowardly act carried out against journalists who were only performing their duties”.
The Chilanga Parliamentary by-election was marred by violence, with workers of the two political parties, Patriotic Front and United Party for National Development, being accused of perpetrating confusion and not allowing journalists to work.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, warned against attacks on journalists and the press. “Elections are times of extreme media scrutiny and the public has the right to receive full information to make informed decisions. Any attack against the press is an attack against democracy and we urge the government in Zambia to bring the journalists’ attackers to justice and ensure journalists can work in safety”.
ZUJ Secretary General, Robinson Kunda condemned the “cowardly attacks” against journalists and warned all political parties in Zambia against attacking journalists and to shun violence.