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Johannesburg. 8 February 2013. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation expresses serious concerns on the escalating campaign to silence independent dissent in Zambia, calling on the government to take immediate steps to protect media and civil society freedoms.
The Zambian government is seeking to introduce the highly restrictive NGO Bill, 2009 in the upcoming session of Parliament slated for mid-July. If passed, the bill will severely curtail the space for NGOs to operate in the country.
The Bill was first introduced in 2007 leading to widespread criticism which prevented its passage in Parliament. Although, some concerns highlighted by civil society have been addressed in the present version of the Bill, key aspects remain unchanged.
"Any regulatory framework for NGOs must actively preserve the independence of the sector.