Malupenga urges state media with online presence to update their websites
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr. Amos Malupenga has challenged the Zambian mainstream media to update their websites daily to avoid creating a vacuum which the social media are filling with lies and half truths.
In a statement released to the media by Chansa Kabwela, the First Secretary for press at the Zambian Embassy in Malawi, Mr. Malupenga said the traditional media houses have a duty to timely provide their audiences with news and information.
Mr. Malupenga made the remarks when he and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s High Commissioner to Malawi His Excellency Billy Munyumbwe on Tuesday.
The team is in Malawi to attend a meeting with the Copyright Association of Malawi and senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture today (Wednesday).
Mr. Malupenga said the provision of information timely is even more critical for Zambians living abroad who are thirsty for news and information about their country.
He said he had observed with sadness each time he travels out of Zambia that it is always a nightmare to access latest news and information from traditional media outlets’ websites such as the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and sometimes The Post.
“I know how you are feeling especially you colleagues in the Foreign Service because I have experienced it before. It’s actually not only frustrating but it is also annoying. When people are thirsty for water and all they can see is dirty water, they will be forced to drink that dirty water. This is what is happening with some of these websites whose names are not worth mentioning. People are looking for credible news and information but when they visit the websites with such news all they find is stale news and information. In frustration they end up visiting those websites carrying dirty water. I have brought this to the attention of media heads but I have also observed that their reaction has been slow,” Mr. Malupenga said.
However, Mr. Malupenga said Government was keen to promote professional journalism in Zambia.
He urged Zambians in the diaspora to ignore the websites that are in the habit of peddling lies and maligning people because their agenda is against those in government.
“Freedom of expression does not entitle people to defame others. But we in the government will not pay attention to such websites because we will be giving them unnecessary credibility. We are comforted by the fact that genuine Zambians know the difference between constructive criticism and malicious propaganda,” Mr. Malupenga said.
Mr. Malupenga said the delegation was in Malawi to learn how the country implemented the hologram, a security feature that is put on all audio-visual products to fight piracy, a programme which Zambia is set to roll out in March.
He said the team had gone to Kenya where it had successful meetings with the Copyright Board of Kenya to share experiences and ensure that the programme is well executed in Zambia.
Mr. Malupenga said the Zambian musicians have been losing income due to piracy which is being perpetuated in unscrupulous people’s backyards and the Government has been concerned.
“For the last one year we have been working on this programme and the security feature has already been manufactured by a company in the UK and in the next one week or so we will be traveling there just to formalize.
Within the course of March the Security feature will be in the country. Before we implement it we are going to countries that have implemented the hologram to learn from their experiences and avoid the obvious mistakes,” he said.
Mr. Malupenga also said Zambia was privileged to co-host with Zimbabwe the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Congress this year and foreign Missions have a duty to showcase the country’s tourism potential and investment opportunities to the outside world.
And High Commissioner Munyumbwe said the media had a duty to provide accurate and objective information to the public for key decision making.
He said there was need for the media to aspire to provide information in a timely manner unlike the current scenario where the traditional Zambian media do not regularly update their websites.
High Commissioner Munyumbwe also said the relations between Zambia and Malawi are good and the Mission is committed to selling the country’s enormous potential