VICE-President Dr Guy Scott says the Zambian government is not bound to break diplomatic relations with countries like North Korea just because the US and UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on them.
And Vice-President Scott says the Zambian Watchdog is a campaign tool for the UPND that deserves the blocking of its website by a 'well-wisher' because they have been promoting hate speech as opposed to free speech.
In an interview, in view of his visit to North Korea to mark the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the victory in the fatherland liberation war of that country, Vice-President Scott said the Zambian government had a long relationship with North Korea.
"There are plenty of rogue states we don't have relationships with so…sometimes I think it is useful to bring people into the foe. We are not going to be told by…I mean the United States has a problem with North Korea and the UN Security Council has a problem with their North Korea military policy but that's not the reason for boycotting them in celebrations of a national day," he said.
Vice-President Scott said his visit to North Korea was not to endorse that country's military policy.
Asked about the concerns that the continued relationships with the so-called rogue states might result in the importation of the dictatorial tendencies practiced in those countries, Vice-President Scott responded: "Why should it be so? Is dictatorship an infectious disease? If I go to North Korea, does that mean I will come back from there as an authoritarian or a militarist? Do I come back and say we must have a military government? It is not infectious. These are countries that have their own history and their own point of view."
Vice-President Scott wondered whether the Zambian government should cut diplomatic ties with China because of the one party state.
He said the visit to North Korea was just a friendly diplomacy.
"If by some small chance it helps them to feel less isolated, then we have done good but I am not counting on that. That's not my purpose of going but to represent Zambia to say we are still here," he said.
Vice-President Scott said after the celebrations, he would also spend some time talking to construction and manufacturing companies that might be interested in investing in Zambia.
And commenting on the blocking of the Zambian Watchdog website, Vice-President Scott said the online blog has been promoting hate speech as opposed to free speech.
"The Post has always been a champion of free speech. We are champions of free speech, but not where invective is being applied to women. The government is being accused of Satanism. Mr Sata's death is announced every week, this is not free speech. This is hate speech, trying to create discontent. If you go for instance to Austria, you are allowed to say whatever you like except when you say the Jews were not murdered…there was no holocaust, they put you in jail because that is encouraging hatred of the Jews. The difference is very clear," said Vice-President Scott.
Vice-President Scott said the problem with the Watchdog was that they post anything on their website and hide in cyber space.
He advised that the Watchdog should come to Zambia and set up an office.
"All this hullabaloo from the Committee to Protect Journalist and so forth, we stand with them if it comes to free speech but if its hate speech, we don't stand by them. We welcome the end of the watchdog, if it dies of its own rabies, it is okay," he said.
Vice-President Scott said even British Prime Minister David Cameron had started conducting a war against pornographic materials being circulated on the internet.
He said throughout the western world, there was an attempt to control criminality on the internet.
"But the Watchdog when they are out there in cyber space barking, they don't seem to accept there are any restrictions of what they can say," he said.
Vice-President Scott said the Zambian government was not in any way trying to put up a firewall like the Chinese and block the outside world but that the government was more worried about the inside world.
He wondered why the government was being hammered left right and centre for blocking free speech when in actual sense, the Watchdog has been promoting hate speech.
"Let them be like Chanda Chimba and come to Zambia and speak whatever they want. We don't know who these people are. Even the Daily Nation we leave it alone because Richard Sakala is careful not to say things which are untrue. He attacks and is very anti-us but that's not the problem, the problem is inciting people to hatred. They thoroughly deserve whatever this well-wisher has done. It is well deserved because they are malicious, vicious and fictitious," said Vice-President Scott.
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