New attack on Zambian online media


Image: Christine Kaseba. By State House, Zambia
Christine Kaseba

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

Zambia’s First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba, has added her voice to those slamming local online media.

The Zambian Watchdog and the country’s other online media have recently come under heavy attack from President Michael Sata and other ministers, who have ordered government agencies to establish means of closing them.

This time however, the attack came from an unlikely source, Sata’s wife Kaseba, who has Zambians not to read the Zambian Watchdog, because she says it is not a serious publication.

Zambia’s mainstream media has allegedly been compromised and has been accused of abetting corruption, while local online media says it exposes some of the dark side of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) government.

The Zambian Watchdog has allowed people to express their views by writing and posting comments most of which is said to be in bad taste to the government.

Addressing Zambians in Namibia this week, Kaseba said: “stop addressing your concerns through the Zambian Watchdog but write to the president directly for your problems to be solved.”

The Zambian Watchdog and other online media in the country have continuously reminded Sata of the failed 90-day PF policies. During his string of campaigns last year before the elections that brought him into office, Sata made a number of promises which he said would be fulfilled in 90 days if he was elected as president. So far, they say, he has failed to fulfil them.

Sata has already ordered the Zambian police to investigate journalists behind the Zambian Watchdog in a bid to arrest them and crack down on opposing views.

Former Evelyn Hone College head of media studies Clayson Hamasaka, his wife Pamela and some other journalists in state institutions have lost jobs for - among other reasons - being suspected of leaking information to online media.

Kaseba joins a long list of attackers of the country’s online media.

Sata himself, Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda, Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba, Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo, Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba and Information Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga have all openly come out strongly against the Zambian Watchdog and other online media.

Sata and Masebo have both directed the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to closedown particularly the Zambian Watchdog but ZICTA has failed to do so because the Zambian Watchdog is said to be hosted outside the country.

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