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Three church mother bodies namely the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) have expressed alarm and sadness at the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s muzzling, harassing and persecution of private media institutions in the country.

And the church mother bodies have condemned the threats and intimidation directed at the Constitutional Court by the PF, describing them as unacceptable. In a joint statement signed by ZCCB president Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, CCZ president Reverend Alfred Kalembo and EFZ board chairperson Bishop Joseph Imakando, the church says the PF’s closure of The Post Newspaper, Muvi Television and some radio stations marks a shameful period in the country’s history. “We are deeply saddened and alarmed by the Government’s muzzling, harassing and persecution of the private media,” reads part of the statement. “The suspending of licenses for the Post Newspaper, Muvi TV and closing down of some radio stations to mention but a few incidents marks a shameful period in our history reminiscent of the sad past when the world we knew was only through the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and ZNBC.” The church contends that the reasons advanced by the government and its agencies for closing the media institutions are lame and called for the immediate “Lame excuses have been offered by the Government for its shameful action but the public cannot be deceived and has not swallowed the lies. Paradoxically it was the Post Newspaper that so eloquently supported the cause of democracy and press freedom and PF while in opposition greatly benefitted from the support and opportunities of the private media. Why lift the ladder now that the party is at the top? “The President must take action to reverse this ill-advised and retrogressive affront on the freedom of expression. At the same time, we again appeal to all media out-lets, both public and private, to adhere to professional ethics and avoid being channels of hate speech.”

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