Journalists attacked by political party supporters
Under the Presidency of Haikande Hichilema, the situation for the media has improved. For example, as reported previously by the Monitor, the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill number 25 of 2022 repealed the legislation's Section 69 that criminalised defamation of the president.
Attacks against journalists continue to take place, particularly by supporters of the ruling party, United Party for National Development (UPND). According to reports, on 8th April 2023, UPND supporters assaulted reporter Charles Chimwemwe Banda from Radio Explorer. The journalist was beaten and had to be hospitalised.
The same day, three journalists from Serenje Radio were attacked at a police station while reporting on a standoff between supporters of the UPND and the Socialist Party.
Politically motivated violence against journalists in Zambia is a serious concern, and United Party for National Development leaders must condemn the recent attacks on three members of the press by the party’s supporters - Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa programme coordinator
Workers at Serenje Radio - Male Kapema, Sheila Kalunga, and Enoch Kile Champo attacked by #Zambia's ruling party supporters for filming their scuffle with opposition party supporters reports @pressfreedom: https://t.co/hp6hqFEZRC @misazambia1 @mediadefence— IFEX (@IFEX) April 20, 2023
In March 2023, the Sistah Sistah Foundation organised a protest against gender-based violence. According to the organisation, a few days after the march, police detained three of their members and accused them of holding an “unlawful assembly” and “giving the police false information”. The activists were released on bail, pending a court date. The authorities claimed the march was a “front to promote homosexuality.”
In October 2023, protestors were prevented from demonstrating against the high cost of living. Activist Villy Sitali Nawa said that the police did not sanction the protest as the group was too big. They attempted to protest nevertheless but were cornered by police.