Access to Information, NGO and Media Regulation In Zambia


By Isaac Mwanza

“If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into the people’s accounts. If they know there is a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it” – Tim Cook

In Zambia, the questions of access to information (ATI), regulation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media have been a thorny generational issue which provoke personal, political and professional debates as well as resistance from those likely to be affected by such pieces of legislation.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND MEDIA REGULATION

Speaking when he featured on Hot FM Radio’s breakfast show in January, 2023, Zambia’s Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe, S.C. said Zambians should expect progress on the enactment of the Access to Information Bill once the media themselves, resolve the issue of self-regulation, a matter that didn’t sit well with some media houses.

The Minister’s proposition obviously raises the question as to whether there is any link between access to information and media regulation? During the said programme, the Justice Minister said:

“The Access to Information Bill gives a lot of freedom not only to the media but also the general public in terms of access to information. Building into that, it comes with responsibility intended to be managed through a self-regulatory process with regard to the media…The two go hand in hand… So perhaps we have to look at it as a shared responsibility rather than a responsibility of government alone.”

If enacted, the Access to Information law will give both the media and the general public access to information which is generated or held by the government. For the media, such information is not for storage but to provide content and

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