Zambian editor defiant in the face of shooting

Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, a shooting took place at the offices the The Post, one of Zambia’s leading newspapers. No one was hurt but the event came as a dark reminder of the dangers facing the journalism profession. Last year, 61 journalists were killed for doing their job yet overall, less than one in ten of cases has resulted in a conviction. November 2nd is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists; the Editor’s Weblog will be featuring reports and special blogs to mark the event. Below is a letter from Joan Chirwa, Managing Editor of The Post in Zambia, written in response to the shooting.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | October 19, 2015

Although this day sounds new to most journalists in Zambia, there has been increasing impunity among politicians and those in the government to commit all sorts of crimes against journalists.

The recent shooting into the newsroom of The Post Newspapers in Zambia on September 30, at around 12:35 hours, at the peak of production, came as a complete shock to everyone.

We know very well that our line of reporting does not go very well with the government but that is our duty; a duty that we will do wholeheartedly without fear or favour to serve the interests of the majority of citizens as stipulated in our editorial policy.

Never in the history of the newspaper have we had this kind of intimidation, this kind of impunity.

The shooting came just over a week after the President, Edgar Lungu, declared at a public rally in the outskirts of the capital city Lusaka that the battle lines have been drawn between him and our editor-in-chief Fred M’membe.

From there on, we knew that everything had changed: we needed to be ready for anything; we needed to be on guard. We now know that the government we have will stop at nothing to silence us, to keep us off our duty of informing our people.

To others, this looked like any other situation, but for us in the media, we know that this is the beginning of a long battle for freedom of the press! We will not surrender; we will not give up. The Post has now reached a stage where dying for the truth will be the most honourable thing to do than trading the newspapers principles for a good relation with those who wield power.

Joan Chirwa
Managing Editor
Post Newspapers Limited

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