HOME Affairs Minister Lameck Mangani has directed the registrar of societies to come up with details about the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) executive committee to ascertain the leadership's legality, according to a report in The Times of Zambia.

But former PAZA president Hicks Sikazwe cautioned against losing focus on the current debate on media regulation by politicising the collaboration between PAZA and the Press Freedom Committee of The Post.

The Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) also defended the association saying there was nothing sinister about signing a memorandum of understanding with another professional association.

Mr Mangani said in an interview yesterday that as far as the Government was concerned the association's executive committee could have been operating illegally.

"As far as we are concerned the operation of PAZA is illegal and it is for this reason that I have asked the Registrar of Societies to establish when the association held the last meeting," he said.

He said he wanted the law enforcement agencies to establish if receiving money from another institution was not tantamount to corruption and if there was no motive in giving the association money.

Mr Sikazwe, who is immediate past president of PAZA, said politicising the PAZA-PFC relationship would shift attention from the important issue and derail the establishment of the much needed self regulatory media body.

"Since the Government has provided leadership by embracing dialogue over the matter (media regulation), calls to impeach the PAZA executive are against the very spirit of dialogue fostered by Government early this month," he said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Times of Zambia's website.