African Media Barometer Zambia 2021

Launch of the African Media Barometer Zambia 2021 with our partner MISA Zambia!

What were the developments in the media environment in the last three to four years?

Positive Developments

  • The emergence of community radio and television stations. This has led to a rise in freedom of expression.
  • The emergence of social media platforms, allowing citizens to express themselves. Unfortunately, this may now be curtailed by the new cyber laws.

Negative Developments

  • Radio stations are invaded by political party cadres, especially in rural areas, especially if they are critical of the ruling party.
  • Covid-19 has impacted the financial sustainability of most media houses. This has affected media freedom. You can’t be independent if you are not financially independent.
  • The closure of Prime TV has created a 'culture of fear'. If a licence is revoked, is it legitimate to then invade the operations of the station?
  • There seems to be a need by the government to control the social media space. They control print and broadcasting, but they have struggled to stake a claim in the social media space. This informs the new Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Acts.


What kinds of activities are needed over the next four years?

  • There is a need for an audit of laws that infringe on freedom of expression, particularly the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Acts. These infringe on the Bill of Rights. Groups need to work together to audit all laws that infringe on these rights, including the law on defamation. “The Cyber Acts have killed investigative journalism.”
  • Laws that infringe freedom of expression should be repealed, and alternatives developed using regional and international best practices. Regional and international instruments should be incorporated and domesticated into laws.
  • Media owners should find ways of valuing the media product and the journalism profession. Advertising should be given its true value with revised rates. This would lead to better salaries, and in this way, pressures that come from the political side can be resisted, and professional standards can be enforced. “It is easy to control a poor profession.”
  • Unions should operate in both the public and private media spheres. MISA could also work to assist journalist’s rights in the private sector. If journalists are protected by a body that represents them, that would be the ideal situation.


What is the AMB?

The African Media Barometer (AMB) is an in-depth and comprehensive description and measurement system for national media environments on the African continent. Unlike other press surveys or media indices the AMB is a self-assessment exercise based on home-grown criteria derived from African Protocols and Declarations such as the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa (2002) by the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The AMB is an analytical exercise to measure the media situation in a given country which at the same time serves as a practical lobbying tool for media reform and media advocacy.


African media barometer

African media barometer

A home-grown analysis of the media landscape in Africa : Zambia 2021
Zambia, 2021

Download publication (2,8 MB, PDF-File)

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