INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Minister, Chishimba Kambwili has said the public media have the power to cover all the political parties but that censorship is crucial in giving the readers the correct information.
Dr Kambwili said although the public media had been given the authority to cover opposition political parties, it was important to censor the information that would be disseminated to the public to avoid raising alarm.
Dr Kambwili was reacting to an online article attributed to Catholic Diocese Bishop of Mongu Evans Chinyemba, where he stated that the public media only spoke for the party in power.
Dr Kambwili said the Government respected the people’s opinion and it had strived to allow all political players to be given fair coverage, which was evident through the various programmes and articles being aired and published on opposition parties.
“We have given the public media power to cover anyone regardless of what party they belong to, but what is important is that those in the public media must be able to differentiate sense from nonsense as they decide on what stories to publish. Some political leaders issue alarming statements and I don’t think it is in the interest of Zambia for public media to carry alarming statements that have no justification,” Dr Kambwili said.
“What we have told media heads is that they should operate independently, but they should analyse the information they are channeling out to the general public. We have tried by all means and have told media heads that everybody must be covered. Everyone is covered in the public media, when you open the papers you find a story about the opposition, so what more do they want?”
Dr Kambwili said there was need for those accusing the public media of being biased in their reporting to note that President Edgar Lungu was not only a party leader but a Head of State, hence there was need to draw a distinction with other opposition presidents.
He cautioned heads of public media to be careful about what information was published as certain statements issued by some political parties were alarming and were not in the best interest of Zambia.
Meanwhile, Dr Kambwili has declared that the Copperbelt and Luanshya District in particular is still the Patriotic Front (PF) stronghold.
The minister said looking at the mammoth rallies that President Lungu held during his two-day campaign visit to the Copperbelt, the ruling party was headed for another victory next week.
“We have scored 10 out of 10 on the campaign and I think we have shamed the opposition who claim that they have infiltrated the Copperbelt. The province still remains the stronghold of the PF. You don’t blow your own trumpet, but I think the results will show, but I can rest assure the President that we have no competition in Roan and Luanshya constituencies,” he said.