By Nation Reporter
MINISTER of Information and Broadcasting Services Chishimba Kambwili says most journalists in Zambia have failed to live up to the dictates of their professional and have embarked on partisan reporting meant to destroy others.
Mr. Kambwili said it was not the wish of Government to close any media institution but said it was important for media houses to exhibit high levels of professionalism so that people were given a platform to know what was wrong and what was right.
He challenged media practitioners not to divert from their professional obligation by taking partisan stances on issues by twisting stories in order to destroy others but understand that they were providing a service to Zambians through education, entertainment and information dissemination. “We need to improve the way things are done in the journalism fraternity. I think by and large, journalists in Zambia have lost it. We are now seeing writing which is very partisan; writing which is meant to get at others, destroy others, I think that is not ten reasons why people should be journalists. Journalist should aim to entertain, educate and inform.
“I am glad that while we were on recess as politicians, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) took some action against certain radio stations and a TV station and that is the way it should be where, if people go wrong, they should be corrected but we are not going to aim at closing radio and TV stations but all we want is for people to do the right things so that the people of Zambia can be given information that is precise and correct,” Mr. Kambwili said.
He also warned that Government would not take it kindly on people who were in the habit of attacking journalists, saying reporters needed to be respected in their discharge of duty, adding that he was aware that there were reporters who were writing good stories for their institutions but that editors were the ones at the helm of manipulating facts to suit their agenda. “We need to inculcate the culture of respecting journalists. Those who are in the habit of beating innocent journalists must stop forthwith because it doesn’t pay. You guys are just here to do your nobble job and I do realise as minister in-charge of information that some of the reporters write very good stories but when they take them to the editors, their editors write something else which the reporter didn’t.
“This is because they want to tarnish people’s images and twist stories. My focus is to bring the media together and be professional so that the people of Zambia can be given an opportunity to differentiate sense from nonsense,” he said. He also said there was need to fight tribalism at all costs as leaving the scourge unaddressed had devastating consequences which the country could not bear, adding that tribalism had the potential to drive the country to the brink of civil war. “This unbecoming trend is something which we must confront and if we are not going to confront this issue in the next seven to 10 years, we may have a civil strife in Zambia. The voting pattern in the last election is not something that we should be proud of and I will personally go round the country to talk to people about the need to desist from conducting our politics in a regional or tribal way. We should respect every Zambian who has an ability to become president to deliver to be given an opportunity,” he said.