The legal protection of the reputation of public officials
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The paper examines the "Legal Protection of the Reputation of Public Officials". It shows that the legal protection accorded to public officials in Zambia poses a serious fetter on the enjoyment of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. This undermines the very fundamental concept of democracy which our country purports to uphold. The paper consists of five chapters. The first chapter inter alia, considers the context and statement of the problem and shows clearly that there is reluctance in the Zambian judiciary to accord a lower standard of protection of the reputation of public officials while maintaining a higher standard of protection of the reputation of private persons so as to enhance the enjoyment of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The chapter also discusses the rationale for the research and submits that freedom of expression and of the press are a critical ingredient of any democratic state and therefore should be guarded jealously. The justification as well as the objectives of the research are also set out in this chapter. In addition, the chapter defines defamation and discusses the Constitutional protection of reputation of people generally. A distinction between a private and public official is considered. The second chapter deals with the critique of the Constitutional protection of freedom of expression and of the press in Zambia. Different pieces of legislation which have a chilling effect on the enjoyment of freedom of expression and freedom of the press are considered. The pieces of legislation considered include the Penal Code and the Defamation Act. The third chapter deals with the effects of the pieces of legislation cited in chapter two which have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and freedom of the press viz a viz development, fight against corruption, transparency and accountability. The chapter shows that there is a link between development, fight against corruption, transparency and accountability and a free press. The chapter argues that Zambia has no free press and that this has undermined development, fight against corruption, transparency and accountability. The fourth chapter examines the derogations permitted under the Zambian legal system and those permitted under various international instruments in greater detail. The chapter considers the derogations permitted by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), derogations permitted under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and those permitted under the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). It is shown in this chapter that the derogations permitted under the Zambian law does not satisfy the international standards as set out in the international instruments mentioned above. The fifth and final chapter contains conclusions and recommendations.
- Law