January 17, 2009
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has called on all media institutions in Zambia to heed to the call by President Rupiah Banda to ensure that they fall under one salutary media ethics regulatory board in order to make the profession more dignified.
MISA Zambia chairperson Henry Kabwe said the media's disunity and lack of common ground has sent a wrong message to the Zambian people where media ethics and professionalism is concerned.
Mr. Kabwe expressed sadness that the citizens have no knowledge on which code of ethics the Zambian media base their conduct on adding that this has made it hard for the ordinary citizens to seek redress on the ethical issues concerning the conduct of the media.
“ We would like to remind all journalists that while they facilitate the freedom of expression and access to information , they owe their allegiance to the Zambian people they serve,” he said.
Mr. Kabwe however stated that media's ethical conduct can not be enforced under statuary regulation because the media is a watch dog of the three arms of government which is supposed to provide checks and balances.
He said the statutory regulation on the media by the three arms of government might be used to hamper the role of the media as a watchdog.
He appealed to the media to ensure that it familiarizes itself with the Media Council of Zambia MECOZ so that many media ethical complaints could be handled internally to avoid actions that would cost the media and lead them to closure.
He further appealed to all media in Zambia to come under one non statutory media ethics body that will enforce media ethical conduct.
The MISA chairperson said the media has an obligation to adhere to media ethics as it carries out the duty of serving the Zambian people.
This is contained in a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
The media associations have already begun the process of coming up with a strengthened non statuary media ethics regulatory body that should encompass all media in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kabwe also appealed to government to waive tax on key media inputs and broadcasting equipment so as to make the media more sustainable and viable.