MORE people have condemned the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) for receiving money from the Press Freedom Committee of The Post Newspapers, saying the association had compromised itself at the expense of providing impartial leadership to institutions it represents.
MMD spokesperson Mike Mulongoti said that the PAZA leadership should be ashamed to be receiving money from one media institution. Mr Mulongoti said there was no justification for them to receive money from the Press Freedom Committee of the Post, an organisation linked to The Post Newspapers because even if they claimed to be a non-governmental organisation, there was no way they could receive money from anywhere.
He said the MMD would wait for a comprehensive statement from PAZA because there was no way leaders could be receiving money from selected media institutions.
He also challenged the PAZA leadership to call for the annual general meeting because it was illegal and against their constitution for them to be in office for about four years without elections. Forum for Leadership Search (FLS) has advised PAZA not to be compromised by The Post at the expense of providing impartial leadership to the institutions it represents.
FLS executive director Edwin Lifwekelo said in a statement yesterday that allegations by the Committee of Citizens that some media institutions were on The Post Newspaper pay-roll had a chilling effect on the integrity of media institutions and investigations should be instituted.
“The forum prays that the allegations that PAZA leadership were on The Post Newspaper payroll are not true because they have a serious bearing on the integrity of the PAZA leadership and other media institutions,” he said. Mr Lifwekelo urged the PAZA leadership to renew its mandate if it was true they did not have legitimacy from their membership as alleged by Committee of Citizens executive director Gregory Chifire.
He said it was only fair that the PAZA membership gave the leadership an opportunity to renew its mandate.
He said the FLS appreciated the dialogue between the Government and media institutions and hoped that all stakeholders treated the issue with urgency.
He said an enforceable definition of what constitutes legitimate news publication be applied as it would place values that would stress the importance of public service, impartial reporting and balance of opinion.
The forum also condemned the unproductive attacks on Vice-President George Kunda because they did not add value to the spirit of dialogue in Zambia since he was being unfairly targeted for political expediency.
PAZA vice-president Amos Chanda said those alleging that the PAZA leadership was receiving money should provide evidence for the police to move in. Mr Chanda said PAZA had only signed a memorandum of understanding with the Press Freedom Committee of The Post Newspapers based on mutual co-operation on media and freedom of expression.
[Times of Zambia]