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Zambia warns online publications

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

The Zambian government has accused internet based publications of abusing media freedom and warned it will get tough on those it accuses of deliberately chosen to ignore the basic rules of journalism and continued to libel citizens.

Kennedy Sakeni, minister of Information and Broadcasting said online publications in Zambia are “abusing media freedom” and trying to fuel anarchy and divisions in the country.

Sakeni said online publications mostly choose to “concoct stories” to defame people without verification.

The hate for online media by the Zambian government has been growing since the new Patriotic Front government took over office in 2011 with President Michael Sata directing ZICTA, the country telecom sector regulator to close some online publications.

According to Sakeni, some online publications have “gone overboard as their news coverage is often cheap slur, slander and libel while they continue to hide behind the veil of cyberspace.”

“The freedom of the internet must not be used to twist facts. Let them do the right thing and not insult people who have families and people who were elected. They must not continue to push Government because it’s just a matter of time before the law catches up with them,” said Sakeni.

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