Mistry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga has challenged the Zambian mainstream media to update their websites daily to avoid creating a vacuum which the social media are filling with lies and half truths.
Mr. Malupenga said the traditional media houses have a duty to timely provide their audiences with news and information.
He said this when he and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi Billy Munyumbwe yesterday.
The team is in Malawi to attend a meeting with the Copyright Association of Malawi and senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture today.
This is according to a press release made available to ZANIS by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Mission in Malawi, Chansa Kabwela.
Mr. Malupenga said the timely provision of information was even more critical for Zambians living abroad who are thirsty for news and information that concern their country.
He said he had observed with sadness each time he travels out of Zambia that it was always a nightmare to access latest news and information from traditional media outlets’ websites such as the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and sometimes The Post.
“I know how you are feeling especially you colleagues in the foreign service because I have experienced it before. It is actually not only frustrating but it is also annoying. When people are thirsty for water and all they can see is dirty water, they will be forced to drink that dirty water. This is what is happening with some of these websites whose names are not worth mentioning,” he said.
Mr. Malupenga said people were looking for credible news and information but are always disappointed when they visit the websites.
He however said government was keen to promote professional journalism in Zambia.
He urged Zambians in the diaspora to ignore the websites that were in the habit of peddling lies and maligning people because their agenda was against those in government.
“Freedom of expression does not entitle people to defame others. But we in the government will not pay attention to such websites because we will be giving them unnecessary credibility. We are comforted by the fact that genuine Zambians know the difference between constructive criticism and malicious propaganda,” Mr. Malupenga said.
Mr. Malupenga said the delegation was in Malawi to learn how the country implemented the hologram, a security feature that is put on all audio-visual products to fight piracy.
He said Zambia was learning this because she was set to roll out a hologram in March this year.
He said the team had gone to Kenya where it held successful meetings with the Copyright Board of Kenya to share experiences and ensure that the programme was well executed in Zambia.
Mr. Malupenga said the Zambian musicians have been losing income due to piracy which was being perpetuated in unscrupulous people’s backyards.
“For the last one year we have been working on this programme and the security feature has already been manufactured by a company in the UK and in the next one week or so we will be travelling there just to formalize,” he explained.
Mr. Malupenga also said Zambia was privileged to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Congress this year with Zimbabwe.
He said therefore, foreign missions have a duty to showcase the country’s tourism potential and investment opportunities to the outside world.
And Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi, Billy Munyumbwe said the media had a duty to provide accurate and objective information to the public for key decision making.
Mr. Munyumbwe said there was need for the media to aspire to provide information in a timely manner unlike the current scenario where the traditional Zambian media do not regularly update their websites.
He also said the relations between Zambia and Malawi were good adding that the mission was committed to selling the country’s enormous potential.