MEDIA distortions about Zambia’s electoral process are worrying, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country manager Richard Cox has said.
Last week, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) director Priscilla Isaac advised the media against misusing their power.
Mr Cox said on Friday that the cost of media distortions about the electoral process was that Zambians were losing clarity.
He urged the media in Zambia to understand that this year’s August 11 general elections were unique because of the new electoral regime brought up by the amended Constitution. Mr Cox was speaking at the closure of a 10-day Trainers of Trainers in Election reporting workshop in Lusaka organised by the ECZ. He said the media should realise that accurate information has become crucial with the enactment of the new Constitution.
The Constitution now provides for a winning Presidential candidate to garner more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast and a running mate.
It also provides for the election of a mayor or chairperson of a city or district by all residents of a given town.
Last week, Mr Cox said the UN would not have associated themselves with Zambia’s electoral process if they suggested ECZ would not conduct credible elections.
Mr Cox said International observers agree that the ECZ knows how to conduct credible elections.
He, however, said it was normal for the media to agree or disagree on how ECZ organises elections but stated that if they wanted to sabotage elections, then that kind of behavior would not be tolerated.
And Ms Isaac observed that while the media must be free to have independent and diverse views, they must be reliable, truthful and trusted.