The Zambian High Commission in South Africa has accused some sections of the international media of embarking on a systematic attempt to paint a bad image of Zambia.
Press Secretary at the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria Patson Chilemba contended that there seems to be an attempt to paint a negative image of Zambia by some international media.
In a letter sent out to the Business Day newspaper in response to an article published on March 12 headlined “Incoherent policy will undermine Zambia”, Mr. Chilemba pleaded with the newspaper to uphold the tenets of fairness, truthfulness and objectivity, which he said are some of the important hallmarks of journalism.
He said the newspaper alleged that there is growing political intolerance and impressions are that President Michael Sata’s government does not have a coherent development policy, which will undermine the country’s investment credentials and economic growth.
Mr. Chilemba also recounted that the newspaper alleged that there is a sustained assault on opposition leaders and the seizure of several private businesses sold to foreign investors by the previous administration which has raised questions about Mr Sata’s commitment to the rule of law and protection of investments.
He said the newspaper further stated that over the past several months, Mr Sata’s government has taken control of Zamtel, Zambia Railways, Finance Bank and the Collum coal mine.
“In our press statement sent to your staff reporter we gave various reasons for this. However, it seems our response to those cardinal issues has been ignored so that an impression could be sustained that the Zambian government was unilaterally seizing private businesses sold to foreign investors by the previous government,” he stated.
He continued: “The fact that the Zambian government, under the leadership of Mr Sata, managed to secure $750m via a eurobond — which was oversubscribed 24 times — is a sign of confidence in the administration.”
Mr. Chilemba added: “You mention that the Zambian economy will expand by 7.3% this year, from 6.9% last year, driven largely by demand from China. It is also worth noting that the economy is expected to expand mainly because of the sound economic policies of the Zambian government and the expected foreign direct investment into the country.”
He said: “Apart from raising issues in the article in question, you also published an opinion (Reversing Zambia’s democratic gains, February 22) in which you accused our president of stepping back from the democratic ideals.
While we appreciate your freedom to free expression and to cover events in Zambia, we plead with you to uphold the tenets of fairness, truthfulness and objectivity, which are some of the important hallmarks of journalism.”