On 12 and 13 November 2014, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, Media Institute of Southern Africa Zambia (MISA-Zambia), and members of the Decriminalisation of Expression (DOX) Campaign, organised a stakeholders meeting on the decriminalisation of laws limiting Freedom of Expression, in Lusaka, Zambia.

The meeting brought together civil society organisations working on the decriminalisation of laws limiting freedom of expression in Zambia, government representatives, representatives of media houses and journalists. At the meeting, participants discussed some of the various criminal laws restricting freedom of expression and how they had been applied by courts in Zambia, the impact of these laws on media freedom, and most importantly the proposed draft bill on decriminalisation of defamation and strategies on how to assure its passage in Parliament.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of a National Plan of Action to guide further action towards the repeal of laws criminalising freedom of expression in Zambia.

On 13 November 2014, the Special Rapporteur led a delegation that met with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mr Bert M. Mushala, to discuss the need for the government of Zambia to review laws that criminalise free speech.The Special Rapporteur took the opportunity, on behalf of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to present her condolences to the government of Zambia and its people on the death of President Michael Sata.

In between these two meetings, the Special Rapporteur had a number of interviews with public and private media. The Special Rapporteur was a guest on Morning Show on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) - the public broadcaster, where she briefly talked about the continental campaign led by her office, to decriminalise laws that limit freedom of expression.


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