Part 3: MASSAGING A VICTIM COMPLEX: HOW PRIME TV HAS BEEN LET DOWN BY HASTY AND IMPROVIDENT MEDIA BODIES

By Wilfred Sameta

US Senator Robert Byrd in his remarks as the Senate in 2005 opened debate on Senate Joint Resolution 46 – a resolution authorising the President of the United States of America to use whatever force he deemed necessary prior to the gulf war in Iraq or elsewhere cautioned:
_“All things will be clear and distinct to the man who does not hurry; haste is blind and improvident”_.

There have been a variety of automated reactions arising out of the suspension of Prime TV broadcast licence that remind one of the wisdom in Senator Byrd’s advice.

Unfortunately a great deal of the feedback to Prime TV’s situatio has been hasty, blind and improvident.

It has been ill-informed to the realities at the root of the suspension of the television station’s Licence i.e. Prime TV evening news broadcast of Saturday 9th February 2019.

THE MEDIA BODIES

In a scathing attack on IBA and the government shortly after the suspension of Prime TV, the Media Liaison Committee (MLC) in their statement strangely did not refer to the reasons cited in the suspension letter; yet they went off on a tangent diverting attention from the reasons outlined in the suspension letter by vehemently blaming the suspension on the fact that Mr Davies Mwila of PF had “chased” Prime TV reporters from his Press briefing on the 26th of January 2019.

All this muddying of the waters by MLC to conceal the flaws of professional colleagues was really an attempt to cover their own glaring inadequacies. Their attitude is a perfect example of how loyalty becomes perverted when it is understood to mean blind acceptance.

Journalism should be anchored on truth and accuracy; not obfuscation.

What are the clear facts that MLC ZIIMA et al are ducking and diving?

PF letter of complaint to Prime TV and the latter’s subsequent response as well as PF letter escalating the matter to IBA (When they were not satisfied with Prime TV response) was premised on Prime TV 19:30hrs news bulletin of Saturday 9th February 2019 with the caption “ARMED STATE POLICE AND PF CADRES CHASE OF HH IN THICK FOREST TOOK 8 HOURS”

The following matters arising from the above stated bulletin are at the heart of the matter:

1.INFLAMMATORY NEWS REPORTING

The uncorroborated news report was extremely inflammatory and with the potential to evoke hostility and ignite or escalate violence and disturb the peace. (Why have the media bodies been conspicuously silent about this potentially bloodletting aspect of the Prime TV issue?)

2. INACCURATE BIASED UNETHICAL REPORTING

Overhyped news and Sensationalism: Footage of the same news report did NOT show any evidence or pictures or footage of State Police and PF cadres pursuing Bo HH into the Bush. Bo HH was on the contrary seen taking a leisurely stroll and issuing instructions to his delegation!

There was NO Corroboration between the footage and the story of him being hunted down.

(Yet again MLC ZIIMA and the rest are silent. Isn’t it a surprise that MLC, ZIIMA and the rest have never condemned fake news! Why? Isn’t this something that threatens their profession? Or could it be that perhaps be that they benefit from it?)

3. SOURCE CONTRADICTED THE STORY

UPND Chairperson Mrs Nalumango was captured delivering a statement in the footage of the Prime TV story news bulletin in question where she said: “there was totally nothing of any violence and there was no PF anywhere and there was NO Patriotic Front in confrontation with UPND”.

The UPND Chairperson’s comments in the footage contradicted the Televisions station’s headline and story.

(One wonders, have these media bodies even taken time to review this particular bulletin?)

4. OPINIONATED NEWS ANCHORED BY A PRIME TV MEMBER OF UPND MEDIA TEAM PUSHING FOR REGIME CHANGE:

Prime TV news and current affairs programmes are heavily politicised and opinionated in their delivery and disparaging of the government in their content.

They are mainly anchored by Mark Simuwe – a known active member of the United Party for National Development (UPND) Media Team.
(Perhaps ZIIMA, MISA and MLC approve of this?)

5. NEWS DIRECTLY PRODUCED BY POLITICAL INTERESTS

In a section of the footage of the story Bo HH is captured directing the cameraman.
Prime TV in their letter of response to PF’s complaint stated: “The idea of the story HH and many hours of being pursued are based on the official position of UPND officials.”

(Again, perhaps this is normal in the eyes of Enock Ngoma of MLC and WPFD, ZIIMA president Jajah Coulibaly and company?)

MLC further misrepresented the facts by claiming that the IBA had disregarded its own regulations because they allege that PF SG directly wrote a letter of complaint to IBA without first complaining in writing to Prime TV. Wrong! (All these pieces of correspondence between PF and Prime TV and subsequently IBA are in the public domain. PF wrote to Prime TV first, Prime TV responded after two days and then PF SG not being satisfied with the Prime TV response escalated the matter to IBA.MISA was copied in all correspondence)

TRUTH AND ACCURACY IN JOURNALISM

It cannot be overemphasised that truth and accuracy are sacrosanct in the practice of Journalism. It is therefore disconcerting when media “mother” bodies such as ZIIMA and MLC distort their facts. If they can peddle misinformation to such a degree and ignore the facts, then what hope is there for the young and upcoming journalists at Prime TV? What about the cub reporters in the making? It makes me shudder! I wonder what the dearly departed media “fundi’s” Professor Peter Kasoma and Fackson Nkandu would make of this.

It is not helpful to Prime TV and the rest of the media fraternity that MLC, ZIIMA, MISA and company have degenerated into automatons pre-configured to respond in a negative way towards the authorities without considering the facts of the matter. Loyalty to professional colleagues should not render one blind to the truth. Loyalty must be enforced by reason; when loyalty becomes blind, it becomes dogmatic rhetoric.

These media bodies are partisan in approach and clearly lack objectivity. They are silent to the wrongs of the opposition and scream loudly to the perceived wrongs of the ruling party.

For instance:

1. Why didn’t they condemn the opposition when Journalists from various media houses were roughed up by UPND cadres during elections in Chilanga last year?*

2. Where were they when Bo HH called Bangwe Navilley “Stupid”?

3. What have they done about revelations by former Prime TV journalist Kasebamashila Kaseba on his face book page regarding the mistreatment and divide and rule tactics of Gerald Shawa at Prime TV?

4. What are they doing about former Prime TV Staffer Kalani Muchima’s revelation that the owner of Prime TV encourages his journalistd to do “bad things” in order to “make money” for the station?

5. While Media Owners are getting richer and the journalists poorer, What are ZIIMA, MLC & MISA doing to fight for better conditions of service for hard working journalists? When are they going to seek a permit to march for this cause? Touche!

6. Why did they fold their hands and look away when a certain political cum entertainment personality insulted the journalism fraternity over transport refunds?

7. What Continuous Development Programmes are they facilitating for practising journalists? None!

8. What have they done to help Prime TV from a professional perspective to address the issues listed from 1-5 above that are at the core of the Television stations suspension? Nothing!

Zambia needs a kind of Journalism that is rooted in facts with a progressive and objective perspective on their country and the world in general.

(That doesn’t by any means mean that journalists should become doormats of the government or roll over and play dead; God forbid-no!

However, Journalism does not need the drama of the mechanical victim mind-set being projected by MLC’s and ZIIMA’s Messrs Enock Ngoma, Jajah Coulibaly and company.

This twisted attitude has wrought in them them a delusion of fault and blame, such that they have become blinded from the simple truth of cause and effect. Sometimes people create their own storms and then get upset when it rains!

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. Coullibaly and Ngoma go both ways.

These parochial distortions do not augur well for media organisations that seek to uphold truth and accuracy; nor do they help Prime TV.

WITH THESE SUBJECTIVE KIND OF MEDIA BODIES, SELF REGULATION IS A MIRAGE

With the kind of attitude of MLC, ZIIMA, MISA and company, one begins to understand why since 2010 self-regulation amongst the media fraternity has continued to be an elusive mirage. Because of such leadership in the media bodies, journalists are unfortunately the most polarised profession in the country.

Journalism is currently a profession with so many “mother bodies” arising out of so many egos and partisan interests.

Whilst Lawyers, Accountants, Medical Personnel, Engineers Human Resource Practitioners, Purchasers, and even other professions closely linked to Journalism like Marketers and Public Relations practitioners are either already self-regulating or have made significant progress in self-regulation, journalists – thanks to a plethora of egoistic leaders of media bodies (without a unifying desire to develop their profession) self-regulation is in the doldrums. Meanwhile Ngoma, Coulibaly and company are chasing selfish interests as they run helter-skelter in Brownian motion.

Self-regulation requires a high degree of objectivity. It is lack of such objectivity and a lack of honest criticism as highlighted in their mishandling of the Prime TV debacle that has prevented the media fraternity from attaining self-regulation since 2010.

They have become a self-saboteurs in journalism and they have compounded that by also having a victim mentality. It is as though they are holding their own breath and then blaming others for their inability to breathe.

Such is the story of the hasty and improvident media bodies and their neglect of Prime TV.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. It is very true that patriotic Zambians, who are for the continuation of peace,stability and development of Zambia, want a media that will help them understand what is truly obtaining in the ground both in the opposition and ruling parties. A one sided reporting media is one of the most dangerous enemies any country can have. Journalist must ensure what they report is inly but the truth that will never disrupt the peace of the nation.
    As for the politician we have today, let them be people who put first in all their undertakings as they aspire to lead this great and peaceful nation. Thank you for the article because it has opened the eyes of the wise and peaceful Zambians to the fact of what kind of people we have in these so called media houses like misa,mlc and miisa. Should anything…

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    • When media turns rogue, you bring them back to justice and let them face the consequences of law breaking.

      No one is above the law … well written!!!

      Let’s roll …

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    • Zambians will never ever go bk to watching DeadNBC even if Davis Mwila closes Prime TV 1 million times. Only brain-damaged PF00Ls watch DeadNBC.
      Did closing Post Newspaper improve sales of Daily Fail or SomeTimes of Chambia? Big No!
      2021 = PF Kuya bebele.

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    • The problem is that our state controlled ZNBC does not report the truth either. The only reason in my opinion Prime TV are being victimised is because they do not sing the PF song of praising all the time even when things are wrong.

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    • ZNBC news is still the most factual news in the country right now. It will report on grz development but I agree that it needs upgrading on various aspects but it remains a factual organization. CNN will criticise the US govt but its based on facts. As the article clearly elaborates compromising a whole profession for political gain is highly dangerous as we witnessed in Rwanda. Right now Daily Nation is the largest circulating paper after post closed. For us living here Nation runs out as early as 1100hrs sometimes unlike the fake news reporting Mast or Diggers which you can find in shops even at 2200hrs!!

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    • PF is a party full of Grade 12s, thugs and crooks …even where there is self regulation like LAZ, EAZ…PF has bribed and infiltrated it way and placed stooges in high positions to influence agenda. PF lack know-how in the art of countering so called “fake news” because three quarters of the time there is truth in it.
      They also have a weak President who is not confident enough to address the nation via Press briefings he cowers behind his Press boy or lets his Party SG take lead.Lazy Lungu takes the back-roll or he is seen dancing on stage.
      There was a photo of an armed pistol welding man beating a cadre…whatever happened there who was the man with the pistol and where is the cadre?

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    • NAILED. THE HAMMER HIT THE RIGHT TARGET.
      Government works with shushushus. They got everything under control.
      Right move Government. We are counting down meanwhile.
      SIMUWE was a rotten egg. The owner sold his soul to the devil.
      Who is this devil then?
      We all know who it is. The writing is on the war.

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    • The above author is very right. The issue here is, did Prime TV conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner? Any reasonable analysis of Prime TV conduct will result into one conclusion; no!

      They were both unprofessional and unethical, pure and simple. How do you go and CREATE or MANUFACTURE “facts” that did not in fact happen? They brought it on themselves. The whole world is fighting Fake News and we want it to become a standard in Zambia?

      Trying to divert attention to ZNBC is irrelevant. THE FACTS OF WHAT PRIME TV DID SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

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  2. Freedom of the press is defined as the right of media houses (print, TV, web, social media and radio) to report news without being controlled by the government or it’s organs. Every media house has a bias and it’s also called freedom of the press.
    Certain media houses by favour or whatever are given exclusive rights to news, etc. in a way this entails that the media house is trusted those individuals. A thing State house is doing – giving exclusives to govt owned media houses only.
    The self regulation/censorship is only used when journalists are protecting their jobs, it’s never used based on professionalism. Media houses houses (esp. TV) will no longer report on corruption for fear of being closed down. ZNBC TV1 and TV2 are an example of media houses the practice self censorship for…

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    • cont’d.
      ZNBC TV1 and TV2 are an example of media houses that practice self censorship for fear that their editors and journalists may be fired by the invisible hand.
      Media houses will no longer investigate corruption, abuse of office for fear that IBA may shut them down.
      If any media house should be closed down, it’s the one that practices self censorship for fear of being closed down and their staff being fired.

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  3. Can someone explain to to in a paragraph what author is trying to say before I comment

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    • @It is political…

      The author’s central point is that ENABLERS like MISA, MLC, ZIMA, extra, are NOT doing media houses such as Prime TV favors by being so UNPROFESSIONAL themselves. SLANTED or AUTOMATED criticism of the IBA (and the Govt) without considering the FACTS that led to Prime TV suspension is perverting the truth and does injury to the cause/dream of MEDIA SELF- REGULATION in the Country. This is the danger the author is warning about

      Like the author has clearly stated: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” It can’t be any clearer than that!

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    • @It is political…

      The author’s central point is that ENABLERS like MISA, MLC, ZIMA, extra, are NOT doing media houses such as Prime TV favors by being so UNPROFESSIONAL themselves. SLANTED or AUTOMATED criticism of the IBA (and the Govt) without considering the FACTS that led to Prime TV’s suspension is perverting the truth, part of the problem, and self-defeating. It only does injury to the cause/dream of MEDIA SELF- REGULATION in the Country. This is the danger the author is warning about.

      Like the author has clearly stated: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” It can’t be any clearer than that!

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  4. This says a lot about the professionalism of the current crop of journalists in Zambia. Perhaps just like our education system. BTW, UK now no longer recognizes our degrees when in the past they were at par. The author tried to be analytical but his bias sticks out. He could at least have dug deeper and given us several examples (trend) to back his position.

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    • Charm,

      There is a lot of misinformation regarding the so-called downgrading of university degrees from UNZA and CBU. Much of this nonsense that the UK no longer recognizes our degrees is coming from the social media and people who hate their own country like you. Yesterday I went to the Training Manager at UNZA to find out if this is accurate. In the case of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the details I was given showed that in the last two years, UNZA had eight Zambians who had obtained masters and doctoral degrees from the universities of Sheffield, Reading, Leeds, Wales, and three from Oxford. I am reluctant to give the names of these graduates from these universities without their permission, but if you insist, I will talk to them and release their names.

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    • FACTS – On Monday go to the Finance Director of Zampost he too will tell you that the company is running smoothly and workers are gladly being paid on time..as if he would dare tell you otherwise..really laughable!!

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  5. When Media houses have opposing views to the ruling party the are called rogue !!!!!!!!!!!!! Ruling parties all over Africa oppose any media houses that do not have the same views as ruling parties……..

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    • What opposing view was there in that staged abnoxious story by prime tv. If that was opposing view what view was prime tv outing forward. Do not be brainwashed by bloody thirst power hungry satanists whip have the potential to trigger genocide in our largely peaceful country.

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    • Ruling Parties in Africa are opposed to media houses spreading lies and fake news. Testimony is Nigeria where they voted back a sick man into power because opposition has no substance except hate, malice and lies!!

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  6. There is preference of certain political parties,bias might be present and contradict the ethics journalism, but that is not a big issue. The big issue if failing to prove what you are saying. Showing evidence instead of a mare propaganda ,hence fabricating what is not happening.Trying by all means to discredit someone just because you don’t like him. Say it and prove it.

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  7. By the time our land is done with this bloody thirst desperate opposition leader called HH our moral values and our one Zambia one nation moto our peace loving attitude will all be completely dented. Zambia needs to re invent itself and say never again shall we have an opposition leader in HH’s person. He is a link to an abnoxious and greedy click bent to get their way through dirty money and manipulation. Even a five year old child would have easily discounted the authenticity of that news.

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    • On point my guy. hh has degraded the moral conscience of politics to a point where the new generation of politicians view insults and general lack of respect as a norm. He has destroyed the moral fibre of Zambian society where vile language immoral behaviour and violence are acceptable. Is this the way Mung’omba, Akashambatwa, Mulemba,Mazoka or Sata behaved in opposition??

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    • What morals are you talking about corruption, rigging elections and lies. Jealousy and envy will send you to your grave prematurely. Just work hard, one day you will stumble over …

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  8. The author is very factual in trying to bring out his arguments. I don’t think the author is supporting any parties, the media bodies or IBA. Can the media bodies try to examine the points 1 to 5 that the author has highlighted above and tell the nation whether they were right to overlook them as noble professional bodies of the media before condemning the IBA. Here, Mr. Sameta you have my support hundred percent whether you are a professional generalist or not. Keep it up sir. Why don’t you contest to become a leader in one of these media bodies if at all the posts are elective? Having such people like Sameta in these bodies will greatly improve matters in these media bodies.

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    • Ba Sichula,

      I totally concur with you. Mr. Sameta is the type of journalist the media organizations and the country needs. I am also giving him total support. Sadly, our seriously compromised media would never have his type in their ranks. God bless our country!

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  9. We have to understand the nature of politicians, we the masses are tools in there hands utmost we are caught up in propaganda administered by the very politicians who appear like angels. Both PF and UPND want to appear like victims when there both to blame on this. THE MEDIA SHOULD BE GIVEN FREEDOM BUT NOT TOO MUCH FREEDOM, THIS POWERFUL TOOL CAN BRING WAR WHEN NOT PROPERLY HANDLED.

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  10. This is straight from the Chanda boys…..

    Which media house has publicised PF brutality and thuggery ? None

    Now you have PTV doing it , you don’t like it…..

    We repeat , only because images of PF thugs were plastered around the world did lungu get worried , shutdown PTV and ordered kapoyongo to halt the PF and police violence in roan and Bahati.

    Images of PF brutality against the opposition are a serious threat to the image lungu likes to show of a popular democratically elected president around the world…..

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  11. @dokowe in this world over NO SINGLE NATION ,NOT EVEN U.S allows freedom of press entirely to PROPRIETORS. AND ABSOLUTELY NO NATION at any time of ERA will allow free flows of media fraternity to be controlled by media proprietors.
    U.S has more 3000 media platforms both prints and…….
    But they follow WHITE HOUSE PRESS AUTHORITIES.

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    • Where do you get the lies you post from ??

      The media in the USA are completely free of white house authorities ……

      You are the same one that told us trump almost shut down or shut down CNN, that CNN is not broadcast in France, Australia ???

      You think people blogging are as ignorant as your PF kaponyas ??

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  12. Dear Author

    I appreciate your submission. Issues are well articulated.
    1) However, I would like you to comment on the Alleged news blackout instruction on the opposion which ZNBC was given by PF. This instruction is given tactifully not to leave audit trail. The recent example is the black out of the thunderous filing in which NDC did in ROAN Constituency.
    2) Order of “No reporting of PF weaknesses” but the opposition’s. The latest example is where PF cadres harassed YALI youths carrying banners on youth day asking PF to create jobs. This was done in full view of of the police who did nothing maybe for fear of being retired “in National Interest”. ZNBC did not report

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  13. Deal with it.
    Meanwhile, we are counting down.
    I must assure you that 30 days is like one year if you love what you do.
    But its alright. PRIME TV would have learnt their lessons.

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  14. Only UPND sycophants and zealots and enemies of progress cannot comprehend what independent analysts have observed like the author of this piece… To them because they’re tamed by HH and are into group think mentality, they cannot question the sadist HH but will follow him into hell…however, they have a choice to repent their sins of greedy and tribal bitterness and change for the better.

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