Government has challenged radio stations to aspire for the highest level of ethical and professional standards, in their work.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Chishimba Kambwili says radio stations should not be used as platforms to ferment disunity and disharmony in the country.
Mr. Kambwili says radio, like other media, should be used constructively to foster peace and development in the country.
He said this in his message to mark this year’s World Radio Day, which falls on Saturday, February 13, under the theme The Role Of Radio In Humanitarian Emergency And Disaster Situations.
Meanwhile Mr. Kambwili says the role of radio as a medium of communication during disasters can not be over emphasized.
And Information and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Forrie Tembo has commended local community in the country for responding overwhelmingly to Government’s policy to liberalise the airwaves investing in the establishment of community radio and television stations.
Mr Tembo said at this year’s World Radio Day commemoration held in Chipata today that this follows Government’s liberalisation of the airwaves through the establishment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and other policy interventions in the broadcasting sector.
He said through Information Permanent Secretary Godfrey Malama that the country now boosts of having more than 80 community and commercial radio stations.
“For Zambia, the commemoration of the World Radio Day has become more important and relevant today than ever before. This follows the Government’s liberalisation of the airwaves, the establishment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and other policy interventions in the broadcasting sector with the result that no fewer than 80 community and commercial radio stations are now on air countrywide,” he said.
Mr Tembo said the community, commercial and religious radio stations now dotted all over the country were playing an important role in closing the information gap especially in far flung areas of country where Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) cannot reach.
He said for over 100 years now, radio has continued to play its unique and indispensable role in public access to information in both and developing countries in which Zambia was included.
He said through IBA Government has since accelerated the issuance of broadcasting licenses.
Mr Tembo reaffirmed the Government effort under President Edgar Lungu of commitment to creating an enabling environment for the continued growth and contribution radio to national development.
He urged the media to exercise the highest level of reportorial standards in contributing to peaceful, free and fair elections ahead of the 11th August 2016 general elections.
Speaking earlier, Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo said he would not condone journalist attacks in the province.
He said he would ensure that journalists were protected in whatever they were doing in information dissemination.
And IBA Director General Josephine Mapoma said the radio should provide a platform for people to make informed decisions in times of disasters and in times of emergencies.
Ms Mapoma said the station could discourage the use of violence and hate speech and instead appealed for peaceful co-existence.
“Sir, invited s and colleagues, radio is expected to highlight the plight of the people affected by disasters but should do so in a humane way,” she said.
Ms Mapoma urged all broadcasting stations to conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner at all times including in emergencies or disasters if and when they occur.
She said the radio should not incite violence and hate speech which she said it was going against the broadcasting limits.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chapter Chairperson Hellen Mwale who spoke through Wilson Pondamali said the radio provide listeners with the information they needed more especially in rural communities.