The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe has observed that the main channels of expression for citizens are mainly in the hands of a few people that are held in the confines of the state.
Alliance Programs Manager Nigel Nyamutumbu described the situation as dangerous, saying it limits the freedom of expression of citizens and criminalizes critical voices of media practitioners and other advocates.
He said this led to a high prevalence of online violence against and increased surveillance of journalists by state agents and political players.
Mr. Nyamutumbu explained that media owners have therefore taken extra precautionary measures and encouraged their journalists to own up to three cell phones each, and to not include their bylines on sensitive stories.
He was speaking during a virtual engagement dubbed “free speech, press freedom, safety and security of journalist online” hosted by the Bloggers of Zambia on Thursday.
Also speaking during the engagement, Media Council of Kenya Director for Media Training & Regulation Victor Bwire said the global digital transformation brought about the need for enhanced professionalism by trained media practitioners as the media space has been diluted by other emerging forms of journalism.
Mr. Bwire said digital platforms did not create competition between mainstream and other media forms but made the work of journalists more efficient.
And Journalism Lecturer and Media rights activist Kamufisa Manchishi noted that the lack of knowledge about cyber security laws among journalists in Zambia worked against the country’s media practitioners.
He highlighted the enactment of laws aimed at granting arbitrary access and interception, monitoring and surveillance, lack of sufficient technology and undue interception and access of data as the major issues and challenges in Zambia.
Mr. Manchishi urged journalists to understand their gadgets for them to be able to protect themselves against any infiltrations and for them to understand the laws put in place to legally protect their privacy.