MINISTER of Information, Broadcasting and Tourism Given Lubinda says owners of online publications should state their identity to make it easier for aggrieved parties to seek redress.
He said publishers hiding their identity should not be allowed to tamper with freedom of speech and press freedom through online publications.
“I know some people are hiding in the fact that they cannot be reached. Everyone running a publication should declare where they are to be found. Cowards must not be allowed to interfere with freedom of speech,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said this when he appeared on a special programme on Zambezi FM in Livingstone yesterday.
Mr Lubinda said the attorney-general’s report on the legal framework within which online publications are operating will soon be presented to Cabinet to address the matter.
A few weeks ago, President Sata directed attorney-general Mumba Malila to investigate the legal framework in which online publications are operating in Zambia following complaints from the public about the stories some of them have been carrying.
The minister also reiterated his advice to the public media to always report fairly and professionally and always remember that they are run on public resources.
He said the public media should not take advantage of the latitude the Patriotic Front government has given them to write defamatory stories because the government will not bail them out in the event that they are found wanting.
[pullquote]He said the public media should not take advantage of the latitude the Patriotic Front government has given them to write defamatory stories because the government will not bail them out in the event that they are found wanting. [/pullquote]
Mr Lubinda said the public media should not use the press to settle political scores, but mirror the aspirations of the public.
“From our lesson during the 2011 campaigns, we know how the public media can be deceiving. We would like them to reflect the true aspirations of the people. I appeal to them to do one thing; report accurately, fairly and truthfully,” Mr Lubinda said.
Meanwhile, Mr Lubinda has called on all residents of Livingstone, including street vendors, to support the declaration of the city as a tourist capital. He said street vendors should control their vending.
Mr Lubinda said he wants to see an increase in the quality of tour operators in the city, as they are the ones who help to attract tourists to the capital.
He said despite Livingstone being the tourist capital of the country, it lacks professionally qualified personnel to run the tourism and hospitality industry.
And asked in a separate interview how much the current technical committee of experts on the constitution is getting, Mr Lubinda said it is not important to know the amount.
“It is not how much has been budgeted for, but the cost of getting the business done, that is what is most important,” Mr Lubinda said.
[Zambia Daily Mail]