President Edgar Lungu is concerned that the country is being polluted daily with falsehoods in the media that have the potential to endanger national peace, stability and unity and discourage domestic and foreign direct investment.
The President has also expressed concern that these lies in the end will disrupt or negate gains made on Zambia’s development priorities.
The President said evidently, fake news not only affects Government, but also all citizens and those who spread such falsehoods.
“In the past, I have restrained myself from responding to fabrications based on the hope that our reporters in Zambia will rise above fake news, and focus their energies on substantive issues which are key to the attainment of national development priorities espoused in the 7NDP and Vision 2030 – for the benefit of every Zambian. Unfortunately, fake news is seemingly worsening by the day and becoming an enemy of national progress, as progressive proposed legislation such as the Constitutional Amendment Bill, also known as Bill 10, has been deliberately distorted for cheap political mileage, at the expense of the greater good”, the president said in a facebook posting.
President Lungu said he is therefore compelled to respond to these falsehoods because it is a problem Zambians can no longer afford to ignore.
He said he is also cognizant of the fact that to some of his fellow citizens, his continued total restraint to respond to fake news may be misconstrued to be an admission of guilt – and nothing could be further from the truth than that.
President Lungu reiterated that any talk of his involvement in the illegal trade of Mukula is a complete falsehood which is aimed at trying to form a distasteful caricature of his administration.
“The media has great role to play in nation building. It has been said that knowledge is power and information enriches the mind. Therefore, if you, our reporters, peddle fake news, you will not only be failing your nation, but you shall also be failing to perform one of your basic professional duties, which is: to educate and inform as much as you can; and not mislead and misinform as much as you can”, he added.
He said Zambians should learn from the lessons of other countries throughout history that the nations that have suffered instability and violence did not suffer these tragedies overnight and by accident.
President Lungu said these tragedies were a direct result of, among other things, making falsehoods and careless-talk as truth and the order of the day.
“Let us all remember that instability, disunity, violence and wars are all processes. And that, spreading falsehoods and fake news are key factors in propelling the above-mentioned processes and underdevelopment”, he said.
“Let us all, therefore, jealously protect and entrench peace, harmony and stability in Zambia by deploring falsehoods with a passion; and eventually remove it from our nation’s political fabric. Falsehoods threaten national peace, harmony and stability. And there can be no national development anywhere, without national peace, harmony and stability”, he added.