Monday, 6 October 2008
POLICE HARRASS THE PICTUREMONGER
Last year, I took a picture like this at this same venue and around the same time.
Just that last year, it was my colleague Abel Mambwe who was attacked and abused by overzealous policemen.
This Time history was repeating itself and unfortunately, I was the victim.
A police officer manhandling me during the Global Boxing Union championship fight between Zambia's Esther Phiri and America's Hondi Hernandez.
These cops wanted to move me from a corner where I was taking pictures. They said was obstructing 'important people'. When I looked over my shoulder to look at the 'important people', I realised it was a bunch of intioxicated thugs.
I refused to move from that position, about 10 cops decended on me and did their thing.
The police have no right whatsoever to dictate to me which position at such events was best for me to get the shots I want.
They have not right to dictate what content or angles I want to my stories or pictures.
Theirs is a role that has to do with maintaining peace and order.
I refused to move because that was my best position. I was invited and allowed there by the event organisers and not those police officers.
The officers dragged me out of the arena but the intervention of Lusaka central police officer-in-charge Yobe Luhana saved me from further torment because intructed those senseless and unprofessional officers to stop the assault.
This is a pure abuse of the media and those officers need punishment and do not deserve to be in the service because they are the bad eggs that are tarnishing the image of the police and Zambia as a country.
I still insist that those police should never oppress media freedom. In any case, they should be protestors of this unavoidable right. The police must not join forces with human rights abusers like that.
Its has become fashionable for such police officers to abuse journalists in Zambia and go without punishment. This abuse is actually going into perpetuity.
Inspector General of police Ephraim Mateyo has spoken at many platforms against such action by the police to attack innocent and defenceless journalists.
I have a good working relationship with the police because they are present in many areas where I go to work and I can not avoid that.
The policemen who abused me should look at their role with level-headedness. Their services are needed in our Townships where levels of crime are alarming.
I have to work and co-orperate with the police because they are an important partner especially in my kind of work.
My challenge is for Mr Mateyo to show deeds and not words. Let Mr Mateyo show that he means his words, because his officers have continued to attack journalists and irgnoring his orders.