Livingstone Deputy Mayor Grandwell Chibamba has challenged journalists to engage in issue-based reporting to highlight what affects ordinary citizens, as opposed to character assassination of political players during elections.
Mr. Chibamba said it was saddening for scribes to focus on reporting personalities of candidates while suppressing the real issues that affect citizens.
He noted that a free press was needed if citizens were expected to make informed decisions during elections.
“But while the media must be free and able to form independent and diverse views, it must be reliable, truthful and trusted,” he said.
Mr. Chibamba said this in Livingstone yesterday during commemoration of World Press Freedom Day held under the theme, “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.”
And the deputy mayor further said elections were a cornerstone of democracy and journalists had a vital role to play in deepening it.
Mr. Chibamba said journalists had power and influence over various actors in the electoral process as they were strategically placed to reach a lot of people through the media.
“No single person or politician would reach the huge masses of people without the media. Elections and campaigns would not be possible without the media,” he said.
And Livingstone Press Club (LPC) Acting President Kelvin Mudenda called for self-regulation of the media as the country had adequate laws to regulate the conduct of the sector in general and journalists in particular.
Mr. Mudenda said the media in Zambia was better placed to regulate itself just as the case was in many other countries.
“Zambia already has enough laws which regulate the conduct of the media and journalists, hence we are totally opposed to statutory regulation,” he said.
Mr. Mudenda further said the Club was committed to promoting media freedom and freedom of expression in the country.
He was also hopeful that government would publicize the contents of the much awaited Access To Information (ATI) Bill before it was taken to parliament to enable journalists and the public give their input.
Earlier, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) Livingstone District Chairperson Nyambe Mutete observed that recent by-elections held in the country had pockets of violence which resulted in use of vulgar language by members of some participating political parties.
Mr. Muteta called for strict measures to be put in place to strengthen conflict management committees to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring.