The Independent Broadcasting Authority has expressed concern with the manner in which some broadcasting houses are pursuing suspected COVID 19 patients in their line of work.
IBA Director General Josephine Mapoma said Journalism Ethics demand that the public’s right to information should not outweigh the right of victims or suspected patients of COVID 19, to privacy confidentiality and dignity.
Ms Mapoma has guided all broadcasting stations to exercise maximum professionalism and observe ethics in reporting about the patients and suspected persons of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Furthermore, the IBA is calling on all broadcasters to adhere to Section Eight (8) of the IBA Standard Operating Procedures for Broadcasting in Zambia on Privacy, provides that Information which discloses the location of a person’s home or family must not be revealed without permission”, she said
She said similarly, ambushing suspected patients can expose them to stigmatization and violent reactions from the public.
Ms Mapoma said broadcasters must also note that if an individual or organization’s privacy is being infringed, and they ask that the filming, recording or live broadcast be stopped, the Licensee must do so.
She said people that might be suffering from COVID 19 maybe in a state of distress, therefore must not be put under pressure to take part in an interview or any form of programming.
Ms Mapoma has since cautioned media personnel to desist from following persons that are suspected to be suffering from COVID 19 as doing so puts their own lives in danger of contracting the virus.
She said broadcasting houses must heed the call by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya and the Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya to be professional and avoid violating the suspected patient’s right to privacy.