Zambian Episcopal Conference Media statement
The latest development of harassing and threatening media personnel by some politicians and government officials is setting a bad precedence and is a hindrance to professional practice of Journalism in Zambia.
History should not be allowed to repeat itself by allowing these acts to continue in Zambia. Journalists are professionals and best positioned to select what news and information the country should listen to and read. No one in the government should become the editor of the public broadcaster or print media.
Press freedom demands that the media is free from intimidation or any physical violence or threats from the government. It also implies free being from government censorship. Let Journalists, especially those working for the Public broadcaster and the print media, work freely to provide the public with credible and reliable news stories from the diverse point of view. Journalists should only be answerable to the truth.
Journalists should stand up to resist being undermined, insulted and dictated to by people who are not their editors.
The storming of newsrooms by anybody should be regarded as crime and such a person must be prosecuted to prevent future occurrences of such behaviour because for so many times defenceless Journalists have fallen prey harassment, threats and intimidation .
These events repeat themselves many times especially during elections; it’s a call therefore on the Media organisations to find a lasting solution to this trend with the support from civil society organisations, Church and people of good will.
Meanwhile as Zambia Episcopal Conference we appeal to Journalists to be objective, impartial, fair and balanced when covering politicians in this presidential by election. The media may polarise the nation if it does not remain factual and truthful.
Journalists as very important people in the sustenance of our democracy should avoid being sensational on messages that are coming out political rallies and distinguish politics from real issues because they.
Related to this is another appeal to online media outlets. The reports on some online publications leave much to be desired and is painting Zambia negatively to the outside world.
The public needs to be particularly careful when evaluating contents from the internet.
It is paramount therefore that the citizenry cross-check facts before they can trust anything that they are reading from the internet. The comments and publications posted online makes one wonder whether we are truly a Christian nation or not.
All we want during this campaign period is credible, professional and well balanced news as we prepare for Presidential elections in January 2015.
Fr. Winfield Kunda
Zambian Episcopal Conference (ZEC)