ZAMBIA: NCC adopts more articles on media freedom

THE National Constitutional Conference (NCC) committee on human rights yesterday adopted more articles which promote the independence and impartiality of both the public and private media.

The committee adopted article 59 which states that all public media
shall be independent and impartial and, in addition, recommended that
the private media which was left out in the article should be included.

The Mung'omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) recommended in
article 59 that the public media shall be independent and impartial and
afford fair opportunities and facilities to all persons for the
presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions.

Sub-article 2 states that Parliament shall enact legislation to promote
the independence and impartiality of the public media but the committee
added that the Constitution should not talk about the public media in
isolation from the private media.

The committee argued that the media played a key role in the governance
of the country, especially during elections when it was expected that
both the public and private media should provide fair allocation of air
time and space for political parties.

The committee was considering articles 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63 which
refer to freedom not to disclose the source, independence of public
media, freedom of association, assembly, demonstration, picketing, lock
out and petition, among others.

Earlier, committee chairperson, Enoch Mulembe guided the committee that
journalists worldwide had freedom not to disclose their sources and
should not be compelled to do so except as may be determined by a court
of law.

The committee also recommended that every person has the right to
peacefully assemble, demonstrate, picket or lock out and present
petitions to public authorities on matters of national interest.

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