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Zambia Media Freedom Committee Holds Ethics Training in Lusaka

Zambia Media Freedom Committee Holds Ethics Training in Lusaka

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WAN-IFRA’s MFC in Zambia hosted a timely reminder for media personnel in response to the current negative perspective among citizens that journalists are not following ethics in their practice.

The one-day workshop on media ethics, organised in collaboration with the Free Press Initiative Zambia, took place on Thursday, September 26 at Protea Hotel Arcades in Lusaka. The workshop attracted 29 editors and senior reporters from ZNBC, News Diggers, Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia, QFM, QTV, Muvi Tv, The Globe newspaper, New Vision, Live Radio, Kwithu FM, Hot FM, Misa Zambia, Media Liaison Committee, Hone FM, United Voice Radio, Jive FM, DC Radio and Radio Christian Voice.

Zambia MFC Chairperson and Free Press Initiative founder, Joan Chirwa, opened discussions by saying “journalists today have a lot of work to do to ensure they restore confidence in the media, and this can only be done if journalists conduct themselves in an ethical manner in their duties.”

Workshop facilitator, Herbert Macha, reaffirmed that “journalists must not ignore the importance of observing media ethics in their practice.”

Key issues discussed during the workshop included challenging the current perception that journalists should be provided with logistics to cover stories, while others actually demand money for stories to be covered. Some journalists are bribed to provide favourable coverage, while there is also evidence of an inclination to political parties, some of which finance operations of media organization.

Severe underpaying of salaries and a lack of adequate facilities in media outlets pushes journalists towards bad practices, while a lack of monitoring to ensure journalists stick to editorial guidelines undermines any systematised approach to tackling the problem.

The workshop decried a heavy reliance on unreliable social media sources where unverified stories are posted, and denounced political interference in media, both public and private.

“Journalists need to be in control of their work if they are to get rid of political inclination,” said Monica Mayuni from the Zambia Daily Mail. “We must be independent voices, we should not act formally or informally on behalf of special interests, whether political, corporate or cultural. We should declare to our editors or the audience any of our political affiliations that might constitute a conflict of interest.”

The workshop concluded with a set of recommendations issued through a communiqué, that was carried by Zambia’s main media outlets the following day:

  1. That we will ensure balanced coverage in our stories and accord all sides a chance to tell their side of the story
  2. That we will END the inclination to political parties in our coverage of stories to ensure credibility of our media institutions
  3. That we will, through establishments like the Media Freedom Committee of WAN-IFRA and FPI, engage political parties to sensitise cadres to respect and protect journalists because journalism is not a crime
  4. That we will ensure we fact-check pieces of information we come across especially on social media, as one key ethical practice of journalism
  5. That we will treat social media postings about what we consider news as tips and not a complete story for “copying and pasting”
  6. That we will fully participate in the process for the proposed self-statutory regulation of the media
  7. That we will enforce ethical and professional conduct among practitioners
  8. That we will contribute to the change of public perception of media practitioners
  9. That we will ensure only qualified people practice journalism
  10. That we will utilize established institutions to strengthen the interface between industry and journalism training institutions
  11. That we will push for the revision of the training curriculum to keep in tune with developing trends and technological advancement
  12. That we will support capacity building of media practitioners through mentorship programmes by senior practitioners
  13. That we will demand decent salaries that MUST be paid on time
  14. That we will demand provision of adequate transport for our smooth operations
  15. That we will demand adequate financing of our budgets to avoid falling victim to bribery
  16. That our employers must equip newsrooms for us to operate optimally
  17. That all sponsored awards for the media in the country must be managed by bodies like MISA Zambia to ensure credibility.
  18. Further engagement with reporters and corporate institutions on practical approaches to upholding Media Ethics
  19. Future Zambia Media Freedom Committee training programmes on media ethics to be extended to community radio stations.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2019-11-08 11:10

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...