Zambia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Zambia

Zambia

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

63

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

24

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

20

Freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed, but the government often restricts this right. The Public Order Act, among other statutes, has at times been used to harass journalists. Zambian reporters and publications critical of the government are often charged under harsh criminal libel laws. In January 2003, three journalists from the independent biweekly The Monitor were arrested and another went into hiding after the paper published a story accusing the president's brother of corruption. Other journalists have received "warn and caution" admonitions from the government. The private media supported the introduction of freedom of information (FOI), broadcasting, and independent broadcasting authority draft legislation in 2002; however, the FOI bill was abruptly withdrawn after Vice President Enock Kavindele stated that it had "serious national security implications," according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa. The government currently dominates broadcasting, although an independent radio station, Radio Phoenix, presents nongovernmental views. This year, the private television station Omega TV was closed repeatedly by armed police officers, and the private radio station Radio Icengelo was threatened with closing after it served as a forum for opposition political parties. Coverage at state-owned media outlets is generally supportive of the government, and prepublication review at government-controlled newspapers means that journalists commonly practice self-censorship. Reporters continued to face threats and physical assault at the hands of police and ruling-party supporters.