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Opposition leader disrupts editorial meeting, threatens editors

(MISA/IFEX) - On 15 February 2011, the leader of the opposition Patriotic Front (PF), Michael Sata, stormed into an editorial meeting at the "Zambia Daily Mail" and threatened the paper's editors over a story the newspaper published about him.

According to the 16 February edition of the "Zambia Daily Mail", Sata is alleged to have been angered by a story the government newspaper published about him while he was in Luapula province for a party conference aimed at organizing the party's structure ahead of the 2011 general elections. The story published by the "Zambia Daily Mail" alleged that the opposition leader was snubbed by chiefs in Luapula province. It further alleged that the traditional leaders in the province had resolved not to support him in the elections.

In an interview with MISA-Zambia, the daily's news editor, Pauline Banda, alleged that a visibly angry Sata interrupted the editorial meeting, threatened the editors present and uttered profanities. She said the incensed opposition leader later banged the door of the boardroom on his way out.

"Your predecessors were doing the same things you are doing now. You do not know who will be your boss tomorrow," Sata said.

Banda said the PF leader also accused the editorial team of lacking professionalism.

PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba refrained from commenting on the matter, saying that he was not aware of the issue. He advised MISA-Zambia to obtain a comment from the PF leader. Efforts by MISA-Zambia to reach Sata for comment proved futile as he was reported to be out of town conducting the party's provincial conferences.

MISA-Zambia condemns the PF leader's behaviour and urges all political players to exercise restraint as the situation is likely to get more tense ahead of the general elections.

In a telephone interview, MISA-Zambia Chairperson Daniel Sikazwe appealed to the state-owned and state-controlled media to uphold the principles of objectivity, balance and fairness in their reporting. At the same time, he urged politicians to understand and appreciate the fact that journalists from state-owned media are working under very difficult circumstances.

Latest Tweet:

Le dissident saoudien @AliAlAhmed_en contacté par de faux journalistes via des emails frauduleux https://t.co/UpukKTT1lf

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