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Zambian media postpones Zambia Media Council launch

The Media Liaison Committee (MLC) wishes to announce that it has postponed the launch of the recently created Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) from 3rd May 2010 as planned to a date to be announced after the World Press Freedom Day commemorations next week.

At its meeting held at the Press Association of Zambia Secretariat today (27th April 2010), the MLC resolved that in the interest of the spirit of consensus that drives the current process that resulted in the formation of an all-inclusive ZAMEC, it is necessary to give Government an opportunity to reflect on the decisions taken at National Media Conference at Pamodzi Hotel on April 13..

Our decision comes in the light of Government’s concerns on the Fringilla Consensus report and therefore we have allowed them time to consider the key amendments that were effected to the report at the Pazmodzi meeting.

However this position will be subjected to approval by the second stakeholders’ conference on 2nd May 2010 which mandated the MLC to deal with the matter following the minister’s new position.

Regrettable as it is that the Minister of Information decided to base Government position on a draft document (which infact he had publicly endorsed earlier), we still remain open to an honest discussion towards the perfection of the self-regulatory mechanism. It has to be made clear that this window we have opened is only as far as discussion self-regulation is concerned not any form of statutory regulation as suggested by the Minister.

As regards paragraphs six and seven of the minister’s letter of 13th April alleging that ZAMEC is deemed “to be superior to the laws of the country,” the MLC wishes to explain that the clause in the ZAMEC constitution that requires parties to waive their rights to go to court is only meant to entrench a culture of mutual conflict resolution that will be faster than the courts and not to prevent anyone from seeking redress of the courts if that is the route they so desire. The clause does not in any way place ZAMEC above any law of this country. The provision is a global standard in any progressive self-regulation process including in the Kenyan model which the government prefers the waiver only serves to prevent litigious individuals from wasting both the council and courts time by congesting both processes with the same case.

Finally we wish to state that the Kenyan Media Act which Government favours has raised so much controversy that both the government and media consider it an experiment yet to show any tangible signs of success. The majority of media professionals and civil society regard it as one of the lowest points of the Kenyan democratic enterprise since the country’s return to plural politics in the 1990s.

27TH April , 2010

Amos Chanda

MLC SPOKESPERSON

Note: This is statement released to the media by the Media Liasion Committee (MLC) on April 27, 2010

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April 30, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment