We note that Zambia National Broadcast Corporation (ZNBC) has launched an onslaught in demonizing a citizen, UPND President Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND leadership, without giving them the right to reply on the same platform. The right to reply or have one’s side of the story heard, is a fundamental prerequisite in the law of natural justice and fairness, especially in a democracy.
On August 30, 2020, at 20hrs ZNBC conducted an interview which featured opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) leader Edith Nawakwi.
We note with utter dismay and great concern that the entire program centered around disparaging the UPND President Mr. Hichilema, inferring he had acquired his wealth by less than honorable means.
Ms. Nakwaki freely spoke of Mr. Hichilema having duped the government of the day of which she was Finance Minister without providing, (and was not asked to) any tangible evidence.
This is not the first time that Ms. Nawakwi has made these allegations against Mr. Hichilema, but in this instance she has chosen to repeat her allegations using the public broadcaster, an institution that is at the service of all Zambians and which broadcasts to all corners of our nation.
And since then, ZNBC has continued carrying other subsequent news items around the same issues without offering the UPND leadership the right to reply.
Typically, this is the same conduct that the same ZNBC, and the same officials now enjoying in the PF regime were subjecting the then opposition leader, the late Micheal Sata, in the run up to the 2011 elections, and they expect different results, thinking our citizens are dull.
We find this conduct by ZNBC not only unacceptable, but unfair and unprofessional and perpetuates the typical dictatorial behaviour of the PF, that has suppressed people’s rights and freedoms.
If ZNBC wishes to be airing content relating to Mr. Hichilema and the UPND leadership, it therefore goes without saying that they should equally give them an opportunity to reply on the same platforms inorder to give Zambians a balanced view.