Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo has urged Journalists in Zambia to remain professional and ethical in the execution of their work.
Mr Lusambo said the media is a key partner in national development hence the need to adhere to highest levels of ethical standards.
He said the PF government under President Edgar Lungu supports a media that is professional and able to contribute to national building by reporting developmental issues.
Mr Lusambo who is also PF Kabushi Member of Parliament said the government is currently undertaking a number of developmental projects on the Copperbelt province adding that it is the duty of the media in the province to highlight these projects in order to inform the people.
He was speaking on Sunday afternoon when he handed over six scholarships to the first batch of recipients of the Bowman Lusambo media scholarships fund.
The journalists who were awarded full scholarships to study at various universities in Zambia include Mildred Katongo from Times of Zambia, Chatula Kampo Kangali from Times of zambia and Charles Tembo, a freelance journalist all based in Ndola.
Others are Tamara Mhango from ZNBC, Kitwe studios, Racheal Chako of YAR FM in Kitwe including Tinkerbelle Mwila of Radio Phoenix.
The Journalists will undertake different courses of study commencing in 2017 at universities such as the University of Zambia, Cavendish University, Copperbelt University, the Zambia Open University and ZAMPOST training college.
Mr Lusambo also clarified that the media scholarship fund is not meant to weaken editorial independence of the beneficiary journalists in the country.
“I know a lot of people have been asking why we are doing this. Firstly, I believe that career development is critical for personal development. secondly, journalists have to continuously upgrade their skills and academic qualifications for them to compete in today’s fast changing world,” Mr Lusambo said.
“Thirdly, I know that some of you have been facing financial challenges which have hampered your desire to upgrade your academic qualifications. so i thought, I could use the media scholarship fund to help some of you enhance your academic progression by sponsoring your tuition fees,” he said.
He said, “this ladies and gentlemen, is by no means a way of bribing you. Some of you,we have been friends even before I was elected Member of Parliament and appointed Minister, you know that I believe in the spirit of helping one another. I shall therefore not use the media scholarship fund to influence how the media covers me. you still retain your editorial independence,” he assured.
Mr Lusambo congratulated the six recipients and urged them to focus on their career development.
“To those that have not been awarded, remember that was the first call for application and the process was very competitive. due to limited funds, we could only accommodate six,” he said.
Mr Lusambo also announced that in 2018, the Bowman Lusambo media scholarship fund will be extended to other journalists based outside the Copperbelt province.