Govt advises media to be key player in development
Petauke, August 28th, 2014, ZANIS —- Government has advised the media to disseminate accurate balanced information to ensure that the public makes informed decisions with regard to the national development agenda.
Information Minister Joseph Katema says development cannot take place in the absence of information saying there was need for the government to get feedback and understand the developmental needs of the people.
Dr Katema who is also government spokesperson implored the media to highlight the concerns of the people that required government attention.
“We need to get feedback on how people are receiving the developments
being undertaken by government as well as their needs,” he said.
ZANIS reports that the Information and Broadcasting minister was speaking when he addressed Government Heads of Department, the media and the private sector in Petauke district in Eastern Province, yesterday.
He noted that community and commercial radio stations were contributing effectively in bridging the information gap especially among rural areas where access to information was a challenge.
Dr Katema who is on a four day digital migration sensitization programme in Eastern Province said government remained keen to reform and reposition the media sector to enable it play its full rightful role in the dissemination of news and information.
“It is for this reason that we have accelerated the issuance of broadcast licenses, and we now have 60 radio stations and ten television stations across the country,” he said.
He also noted that government was improving access to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) radio by installing transmitters in areas which had poor or no radio signal for both radio one and two.
Dr Katema stated that ZNBC installed transmitters in Lundazi, Chama and Chadiza under phase one in Eastern Province saying Nyimba would be considered under phase two of the project.
He said that government had re-introduced the local language newspapers under the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) to ensure that people who could not read English especially in rural areas have access to information.
He noted that government had set aside K2.2 Million in this year’s budget for the construction of Provincial television station of which Solwezi and Choma were earmarked for the first phase.
The Minister said this represented government’s commitment to ensuring access to information in all parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Dr Katema has reiterated that government was on course to migrate from analogue to digital television which he said would bring higher audio and visual quality.
“Apart from approving the digital migration policy which sets guidelines for the process of going digital, government is funding the programme which will also result into excess channels.
“This will require more content, and people of Petauke need to take advantage of
this space and do local productions especially those people in the filming industry and cultural artist as this space will be begging for programmers,” he said.
Dr Katema also took time to discuss the various efforts that government was putting in place to ensure that the Ebola outbreak which has claimed more than 1000 lives in West Africa did not affect the country.
He stated that all countries were at risk and noted that government was undertaking an Ebola prevention campaign which was being spearheaded by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).
“Ebola is also top on the agenda of the National Epidemic Preparedness Committee and the Provincial Epidemic Preparedness Committees,” he said.