The United States Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz yesterday paid a courtesy call on Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Hon. Kampamba Mulenga in her office at Government Complex in Lusaka to discuss various governance issues.
The matters discussed during the meeting included press freedom, digital migration, media capacity building and the role of the media in national development.
In her welcome remarks, the Information and Broadcasting Services Minister and Chief Government Spokesperson said Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, values a free press.
Ms. Mulenga said Government recognises the role that a free press plays in national development.
Ms. Mulenga said Government will soon bring both Government and Privately owned media to a round table to dialogue on how the media in the country can play its full and rightful role in national development as well as national reconciliation.
“As Government, our mandate is simply to promote press freedom so that the media operates freely. We have levelled the media playing field and we will soon be having an indaba where we will call all media in the nation to discuss the role that the media can play in this environment,” said Hon. Mulenga.
The Minister called on the US Government to assist Zambia in building capacity amongst media practitioners.
On Digital Migration, the Minister said Government was making steady progress in its quest to complete the second and third phases of the migration process within the next 18 months.
Ambassador Eric Schultz stressed the significance of a free press in a democracy.
The Ambassador said the media have an important role to play in bringing people together to foster national development as well as national reconciliation.
He said the US Government is keen to supplement Government’s efforts in building capacity in Zambian media practitioners for purposes of fostering national development and national reconciliation.
“We have observed that some journalists in some media outlets lack Journalism skills. We have assisted the Zambian Government in the past to build capacity in media practitioners and we would like to continue along this path so that the Journalists can continue to gain the necessary skills to contribute effectively to national development,” said Ambassador Schultz.
Ambassador Schultz also commended Zambia for maintaining its status as a beacon of peace and democracy in Africa.