As a part of the Drive for Democracy, the Swedish Embassy in Lusaka held a Democracy Talks event on the theme of democracy and the media (#MediaFika).
The Embassy created a platform for discussing democracy, freedom of expression and the role of the media by inviting a group of young Zambian journalists to the Ambassador’s residence. The group comprised actors from some of Zambia’s biggest and most popular daily newspapers and radio programmes, as well as bloggers and representatives of Sweden’s development cooperation partner organisations, BBC Media Action and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).
The discussion at the residence centred on fundamental issues such as journalists’ views on democracy and the role of the media as relevant agents of change. The journalists displayed major interest in the discussions about their work, experiences and challenges.
Everyone present welcomed the fact that both public sector and private sector media representatives formed part of the invited group, and the discussions were interactive and engaging. The journalists viewed #MediaFika and similar meetings as an important platform for actors in the media sector to meet and talk about experiences and challenges related to the democratic space. All of the participants agreed on the need for capacity development and resources for critical investigative journalism, but also mechanisms for safeguarding journalists’ security as well as freedom of expression, the press and information. The importance of a nuanced media and increased respect for journalists’ work was highlighted. Further #MediaFika events will take place in order to continue the discussions, not least in light of upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections next year.
The Embassy will hold a Democracy Talks event in March within the framework of the Drive for Democracy, focusing on the views of young Zambians on democracy. The perspectives of young people will be expressed in the form of stand-up poetry, which is a common way for above all young people to address issues related to politics and development issues in Zambia. The event is being organised in collaboration with Sweden’s partner organisation, ActionAid, and its Global Platform Zambia, a place where young people are spotlighted as the voice of social change and are encouraged to express themselves through art, culture and creativity.