Information and Media Minister Chushi Kasanda has disclosed that her ministry has been tasked by President Hakainde Hichilema to facilitate the enactment of the Access to Information legislation in line with international standards.
Ms. Kasanda said government under the leadership of President Hichilema was determined to ensure that its agenda of democratic and economic reforms underpinned by the rule of law, freedom of expression, human rights and a free and independent media was achieved.
She said this was important in attaining the desires and aspirations of all citizens regardless of their socio-economic status.
Ms. Kasanda, who is also Chief government Spokesperson, said this when acting Charge d’ Affaires at the American Embassy in Lusaka, Martin Dale and his delegation, paid a courtesy call on her in Lusaka on Tuesday.
“Government is eager to see to it that journalists quickly conclude the process of establishing their self- regulatory framework. Freedom of expression is a basis for democracy which underpins good governance, public accountability, human rights and the rule of law,” she said.
Ms. Kasanda said government had set Access to Information, Media Self-regulation and editorial independence for the public media as three key priority areas.
She explained that public access to information was key in the promotion of transparency, good governance and full participation of citizens in the democratic process.
Ms. Kasanda said it was also government’s desire that journalists set and supervise their own professional standards and code of practices.
This she said was the best way to grow a free and professional media that contributes to the development of the country.
Ms. Kasanda said every Zambian citizen had rights to freedom of expression which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.
She assured Government’s commitment to enhancing the warm and cordial relations that have continued to exist between Zambia and the United States of America.
She said the ‘New Dawn’ government would count on the support from the US Government and other cooperating partners to achieve the many goals it had set to transform the country and the lives of citizens.
And Dale said the United States government fully supported President Hichilema’s press freedom and public Access to Information agenda.
He said government’s agenda on freedom of expression, media freedom and Public Access to Information were key in the promotion of the country’s democracy.
“The US government will support your government’s and President Hichilema to deliver these democratic dividends,” said Mr. Dale.
Meanwhile Mr. Dale said President Hichilema’s successful trip to the USA recently, where he met a number of top officials in the US government, was testimony of the cordial diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He said the US mission in Lusaka was proud of the President’s trip to the USA which he said had helped to put Zambia on the world map.
This is according to a statement issued yesterday by the Ministry’s Public and Media Relations unit in Lusaka on Tuesday.