INTERNATIONAL Press Institute board chairman John Yearwood says The Post is not alone in its struggle and that the world is watching what is happening in Zambia.
Speaking when his delegation, that includes International Press Institution (IPI) director for advocacy and communication Steven Ellis and senior advisor Wangeth Mwangi, visited the open-air newsroom on Wednesday, Yearwood said IPI was worried and concerned over the state’s decision to breach the rights of The Post to publish the newspaper.
[su_quote cite=”Yearwood told Post reporters at the open-air newsroom as they in turn shared their experiences of running battles with the police during the closure of the newspaper.”]We are here to show our support as you guys are out here in the cold and everything else. We are here to let journalists at The Post know that you are not alone, the world is paying attention to what is happening here in Lusaka and this is really a critical time in the history of the country as you are approaching elections and this is certainly not a time for the rights of the press to be breached by anyone,[/su_quote]
[su_quote]We are very concerned about it. It is very worrying. We think that The Post should be allowed to publish on a regular consistent basis and the government should not be interfering with that. We do understand there are some tax issues involved but at the same time, there are laws on the books on how that should be handled. It should not get in the way of their publication and the rights of The Post to publish.[/su_quote]
He said it was important for IPI to travel to Zambia to get first hand information over what was going on.
[su_quote cite=”Yearwood said.”]We think it is really important that we come here to show our solidarity and to meet the journalists one on one as we have just done, to let them know we are supporting their struggle,[/su_quote]
And Yearwood was amused with the determination by Post members of staff who were busy working outside the closed newspaper.
[su_quote cite=”said Yearwood..”]This is amazing how you have continued to publish every day and to see the determination from the members of staff. We hope that before too long, you will be able to get back to your offices. Whatever we can do, just count on us,[/su_quote]
Post Newspapers news and deputy managing editor, Joseph Mwenda, who welcomed the IPI delegation, said the newspaper was being printed by any means necessary despite manoeuvres by the state to ensure that the publication is completely out of circulation.
[su_quote cite=” Mwenda said.”]What is going on has never happened in the history of Zambia,[/su_quote]
[su_quote]Previous regimes that attempted to close us down failed with dignity. But this particular regime has failed with shame and humiliation because we are still publishing, so what is the point?[/su_quote]
He told the IPI team that the plot by the state to keep The Post closed during campaigns for next month’s elections had been exposed.
[su_quote cite=”Mwenda said.”]Recently, the state agents went to raid and shut down several private printing companies that they suspected to have been printing The Post, no documents were forwarded to the owners of these companies detailing why they were being shut down,[/su_quote]
[su_quote]This was done in the night, this happened on the day when we carried a story exposing the rigging scheme by the ruling party, so the intention was to ensure that The Post does not go on the street. The plan was to silence us completely, but the newspaper was on the street and it has continued to be.[/su_quote]
He thanked Post employees for remaining brave during the shutdown of the offices.
[su_quote cite=”said Mwenda.”]We are lucky because if you see, this is a team of very young people, very fresh and courageous. On average, our reporters are in their twenties, that’s how they are managing to run battles with the police. We have a very young workforce which is very determined to fight this battle to the very end,[/su_quote]