Govt. working on equipping public media before UNWTO-Sakeni

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Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Kennedy Sakeni has said government was working hard towards equipping the public media in Livingstone ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in August this year.

Mr. Sakeni said government was committed to providing basic tools to the public media so that they could effectively cover the UNWTO general assembly.

He commended the media for the important role they have continued to play towards Zambia’s successful co-hosting of the UNWTO general assembly by highlighting the country’s tourist attractions and the preparations it is making.

”It is pleasing to note that the media in the country have remained reliable allies from the time Zambia won the bid to co-host the UNWTO General Assembly to date. Hardly a day passes without reading or hearing something to do with the UNWTO in the media,” he said.

The minister was speaking in Livingstone today during an interactive press briefing with Livingstone based Journalists at Protea hotel.

He however urged the media to intensify their efforts in publicizing the event and educating the public about it.

He said the event will leave a lasting impact and impression on the country’s tourism and economic fortunes.

Mr. Sakeni said so far preparations in terms of logistics, conferencing and hospitality, point to a resoundingly successful UNWTO General Assembly.

The Minister has since called on the people of Livingstone to be exemplary in their reception and hospitality towards the visitors who will come to Livingstone to sample some of the world’s best tourist attractions.

And Mr. Sakeni has said the issue of the partial restructuring of the Ministry of Information and Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) headquarters was unacceptable adding that government was doing everything possible to ensure that the issue was addressed.

On the sit in protest by the Zambia Daily Mail workers two days ago but who have since resumed work, Mr. Sakeni said the problem lay in lack of recapitalisation.

He observed that all the public media that include the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail need recapitalisation.

He added that the vision of the Patriotic Front (PF) government was to recapitalise the three public media institutions.

”As for now, we need to live and manage ourselves. There are boards running these institutions except for one whose committee is being reconstituted. We will first leave it to the boards but the most important thing is to recapitalise before we think of anything else,” he said.

And Mr. Sakeni said the internet freedom was being abused adding that there was need to criticise fairly.

He said currently, bloggers’ comments bordered on insults and nothing else.