By Nation Reporter
THE media must report fairly and accurately on the campaigns of all political parties involved in the election so that the electorate can make informed choices, Kitwe district electoral officer Bornwell Luanga has said.
Mr Luanga said for citizens to make well-informed decisions in an election, the media must not only be free and independent, but also reliable, truthful and trusted.
Mr Luanga, who is also Kitwe town clerk, was speaking at Hotel Edinburgh in Kitwe when he officially opened the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) media workshop organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“For citizens to make well-informed decisions in an election, there must be free media. But whilst the media must be free and able to form independent and diverse views, it must be reliable, truthful and therefore trusted.
“The media is usually the means through which the public find out about an election and the political players. The media therefore needs to report fairly and accurately on the campaigns of all political parties involved in an election so that the electorate can make informed choices,” Mr Luanga said.
He said during the campaign period preceding the voting day, the media should report about the three important subjects – political parties and their candidates, pertinent issues in the various party manifestos and the voting process including regulations and processes.
“As media practitioners, remember that you have obligations to the people you report about, and so to the society to whom you report the news.
“Responsible media practitioners are expected to use only honest methods to obtain the news, which means their work should be guided by internationally accepted professional standards,” he said.
He said the commission would like to enhance a cordial relationship with the media to enable it improve its understanding of the whole electoral process.
“I urge you all to uphold and champion media ethics. Remember that inaccurate or false news reports can ruin an individual’s reputation or cause public unrest.
“As media practitioners, you must not misuse your power by twisting the news and using it as a personal weapon to deliberately harm anyone. The pen is a powerful tool that can either build or destroy,” he said.
He said ECZ regarded the media as a vital stakeholder in the electoral process and it was for this reason that it organized the media training workshop so that media practitioners could understand the electoral process.