Promote meaningful debates, Mwamba urges media

New Media, Old Media
INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba has urged the media to shift from debates bordering on gossip and petty issues to that of development.

Mr Mwamba said the country had of late been entangled in meaningless debates, full of gossip, and called on the media to shift to meaningful discourse that would promote development and unity in the country.

“The country is preoccupied with debates that are not healthy, aimed at dividing the nation and those that set us aside. Let us shift from such debates and create deliberate steps that promote development and unity,” he said.

Mr Mwamba made the call yesterday when he opened a two-day Budget analysis training for journalists organised by the Zambia Institute of Mass Communications (ZAMCOM) in Lusaka.

He said the media had a critical role to play in setting a good agenda for the country as well as providing enough information on the budget.

Mr Mwamba said a workshop like the one organised by ZAMCOM needed to be encouraged by all Zambians because information imparted to participants was vital for the growth of the nation as it could be used to improve the general economic situation.

He said Zambia needed such constant trainings especially for media practitioners because they had a task of interpreting the national budget for people to understand what the Government intended to do for the public.

“It is incumbent upon the media to bring topics that set the agenda which will in turn unite the nation or that will help build the nation.

“We need debates that will highlight employment levels, end poverty and how to create wealth for the nation,” he said.

Mr Mwamba also said his ministry had partnered with the Commerce and Finance ministries to help in the broadcasting of developmental programmes that the Government had embarked on.

He said he had observed with concern that public relations departments were not disseminating vital information and cited the water reticulation exercise going on in the country as one of them.

“I can tell you that the Government through various departments is doing a lot of work especially in putting water in most areas.

“Currently, there is a US$350 million water project going on in Lusaka but little information has been spread, so we all need to speak and explain what Government is doing,” he said.

ZAMCOM director Oliver Kanene said the institution was delighted to have partnered with institutions such as Actionaid and the Swedish Government in ensuring that journalists were equipped with economic, health and public relations skills.