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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

PANOS calls for increased support for media houses and journalists covering the COVID-19 response

General News PANOS calls for increased support for media houses and journalists covering...

By Vusumuzi Sifile Executive Director, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf)
 
Panos Institute Southern Africa is calling for increased support for media houses and individual journalists to effectively cover the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency while staying safe from infection and other risks.
 
While most of us are staying at home and working remotely in line with measures put in place by governments to curb the spread of COVID-19, media practitioners are out there generating in-depth information, educating the public and keeping various stakeholders up to date on this public health emergency. In most cases, the journalists do so at great personal risk, without personal protective equipment.
 
As governments and other agencies collaborate to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the media has a duty to ensure all stakeholders, especially the poor and marginalized communities, have access to timely, in-depth and authentic information on the pandemic, its impact and efforts to address it. The media must also provide a platform for supporting different stakeholders to effectively participate in the COVID-19 response.
 
As a watchdog, the media must highlight human rights violations and other gaps in the response at the local and national level, and packaging the content in a manner that will stimulate effective and timely response actions by government and relevant stakeholders.
 
However, the media cannot play its role without the support of law enforcement agencies, cooperating partners, local and national health authorities and other government entities, opinion leaders and civil society.
 
The media must be supported to produce evidence based, high quality and in-depth content while guaranteeing the safety of journalists from COVID-19, and from being abused or violated while doing their work.
 
With support from our partners such as the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Winrock International through funding from the US Department of Labor, Save the Children, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, we have provided basic preventive accessories like hand sanitisers for community radio stations, as well as rural based radio listening clubs and community action groups.
 
We are also supporting some individual journalists with investigative media fellowships to generate in-depth content, and debunk false information on the COVID-19 response.
 
Further, we are collaborating with various stakeholders to ensure the protection of the rights of journalists and other information disseminators as they carry out their duties in this challenging time.
 
While we commend governments in the region for proactively sharing information on the pandemic, we call for the removal of any restrictions limiting journalists and media houses in the exercise of their duties.
 
We encourage media practitioners to adhere to guidelines from health authorities in dealing with Covid-19. We also remind our colleagues in the media that no story is worth dying for.
 
We are confident that with adequate support, the mainstream, community and online media can influence transparency and accountability in the COVID-19 response, and contribute to increased adherence to the tenets of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
 

8 COMMENTS

  1. While most of us are staying at home and working remotely in line with measures put in place by governments to curb the spread of COVID-19, media practitioners are out there generating in-depth information, educating the public and keeping various stakeholders up to date on this public health emergency. In most cases, the journalists do so at great personal risk, without personal protective equipment.

    HOW DO MEDIA HOUSES PROVIDE PPE TO JOURNALISTS WHEN GOVT WANTS THEM TO PROVIDE MAHALA SERVICES FOR COVID PUBLICITY.

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  2. Panos, please come and cover us here in Solwezi. Solwezi council has destroyed hundreds of kiosks for agents of different mobile companies without notice. Even my MTN kiosk has been destroyed. And I feel sorry for MTN agents which are the majority. MTN itself spends millions of dollars supporting football in Zambia, they also have various programs that support vulnerable people in Zambia, just the other day MTN was on TV donating Covid materials to the minister of Health but here in Solwezi the council is destroying their legally placed kiosks without notice.

  3. The authorities are willing to work with the media houses if they respect and work with the authorities. If you decide to be used by political parties and disrespect the nation through fake news then you will end up like prime TV . Kz

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  4. Am just waiting tht day to come when …kaizar u we be locked in cells..hoping prime tv is there to show the world how u are been mistreated…..

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  5. Very disfunctional government this one. Any wonder why all economic indicators are pointing the wrong way, whilst they continue yapping hot air

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  6. Mr. Zulu what if that day will not come?
    The problem with UPND supporters you’re too bitter about PF. You think that when PF lose power they must be send to jail cell and punish them this reasoning will not help your party return to the throne of president.
    You can see Prime tv is not mentioned.Its like a dead dog story .PANOS was opening their mouths in support of prime tv but today they only asking for media houses to work with government on issues to tackle Covid 19.
    Learn what politics stand for.

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  7. MEDIA HOUSES AND JOURNALISTS MUST BOYCOTT CHITALU CHILUFYA`s UPDATES ON COVID 19 IN SOLIDALITY WITH PRIME TV

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  8. We need balanced news coverage on covid 19 from different media houses not just government propaganda from ZNBC.

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