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Zambia's info minister won't muzzle online media

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 16 Feb 2015

Zambia's info minister won't muzzle online media

Following a wave of criticism, Zambia's new minister of Information and Broadcasting services Chishimba Kambwili has backtracked on his threat to close down the country's online news media.

After being sworn in as Minister of Information and Broadcasting services last week, Kambwili said his first task would be "to hunt down and close online news media organisations because they have become a nuisance by consistently writing negatives stories about senior government officials."

Kambwili said that, unlike his predecessors, he would not fail to close online new media because he has never started a project and failed.

However, the Minister has now stated that he has more important things to do in the ministry than pursue online news media that have been critical about the government.

"I have more important things to do than to start closing down online news media organisations," Kambwili said.

This was after the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chapter criticised Kambwili for his threats and called on the country's president Edgar Lungu to reverse his appointment.

MISA Zambia chairperson Hellen Mwale said "Kambwili's past record proved that he had no respect for media freedom in the country" and would terrorise media practitioners as he had done in the past.

Two years ago, the Zambian government said it would come up with policies aimed at regulating online media organisations in the country.

The Zambian government claimed the country's online media had insulted senior government officials and "people who cannot defend themselves against such insults."

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