The Zambia Union of Journalists says it is greatly concerned over what it perceives as favouritism from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services concerning the payment of salaries at the institutions that are under the government umbrella.
This is in relation to a statement issued by the Ministry of Information acting Permanent Secretary Mr Beaton Kaluba on Wednesday that government has released more than K10m towards the costs of salaries for the employees at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZBNC).
“While ZUJ is happy that colleagues at the ZNBC have had their issues resolved, it remains extremely disturbed that the same Ministry has been paying a blind eye to the issues at the Times Printpak which have been going on for over four years now,” says Shamaoma Musonda, President of the Zambia Union of Journalists.
Mr Musonda observed that at ZNBC, the salary arrears are less than a month while at Times of Zambia employees are owed up to seven months in arrears and this is the matter that the Ministry of Information is well aware of.
He said ZUJ has spoken to the Ministry about the issue on several occasions but nothing has been done.
“The problem of arrears at the Times Printpak has been around and in public domain for a long time but the Ministry has not cared to address them. But when another wing of the Ministry complains, it has jumped with supersonic speed to address their concerns in less than a month,” he said.
He added, “We are made to believe that all public media institutions are the ‘children’ of the government and as such the cake must be shared equitably. However, this kind of selectiveness in the distribution of funds by the Ministry to the public institutions is highly demoralizing because employees have been putting in a lot of work under difficult conditions yet their arrears keep on escalating.”
Mr Musonda said it is further disturbing when an organ as important as Parliament is misinformed that employees at the Times Printpak are sometimes paid twice a month when the reality is the opposite.
“If employees are paid twice a month, why would arrears be increasing? About a year ago, arrears were at four months but they have escalated to eight months. We ask for honesty and sincerity from people who inform the Minister about the unfortunate happenings at the Times of Zambia. We believe that involving all parties including the union, who are key stakeholders, is the best way to get accurate information,” he said.
Mr Musonda said the Ministry of Information should address problems at the Times of Zambia with the same urgency it has dealt with one month salary arrears at the public broadcaster.
“We are now wondering whether government wants work at the Times of Zambia to be halted for them to intervene. We also urged government through the Ministry of Finance to collect about K11 million that the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail are owed by various government institutions through unpaid for advisements. This debt has been outstanding for sometimes now and it can go a long way in sorting out problems at the two biggest newspapers in the country. These salary arrears have led to untold misery for the employees whose salaries are also among the lowest compared to other similar government institutions,” he said.
Good for you biased journalists. Why even use tax payers money to reward you for your biasness. I fact the situation needs to detoriate further until you fold up operations.
ZUJ need to change tack. You should start fighting for the privatisation of these media instead of asking government to avail tax payers’ money to the lossmaking institutions. “colleagues at the ZNBC have had their issues resolved”???.
Stup cheating yourselves. Issues aren’t resolved. They will continue resurfacing and DeadNBC, Times, Mail will continue asking for taxmoney if government continues owning them. Without govt interference all these companies can make a profit. ZUJ wake up and fight the battle correctly not wrongly like you are doing
Just thinking. Maybe the difference is that Znbc collects more more thanother media through tv levies which we pay through Zesco. Just calculate 2 million electrified households paying K3.00 each month. In fact I suspect that government has been misapplying this money hence the delay in paying salaries.
Really such nonsense is happening in our country???
The case of ZNBC is different, TV1 and TV2 are able to break even but Radio 1 is the biggest parasite and govt needs to subsidize its operations. There’s no justification for the Times of Zambia and Daily Mail to look to govt for support, they just lack innovation. The role of ZANIS is similar to Radio 1. So ZUJ must not confuse us
I thought so too. Why these ‘favours?’
Media houses the world over make millions. Times just need to start thinking outside the box. They have the f00lish Zambian civil service mentality of just reporting for work and government pays. They should be thinking of making Times a business that makes money.
Perhaps Times and Daily should introduce Newspaper levy on all households
Kikikikiki! Some of us know what you are saying
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