Minister of Information and Media Chushi Kasanda is concerned with the low salaries and poor working conditions journalists in some media houses are subjected to.
Ms. Kasanda who has described the situation as disheartening, says it is unacceptable that some institutions can be paying their journalists as low as K900 per month.
She said this cannot be allowed to continue and has since called for a meeting with media owners to establish what the problem is.
Ms. Kasanda said like other professionals journalists play a very important role in society and must be given the respect and dignity they deserve.
The Minister was speaking when the Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) paid a courtesy call on her today.
She said her Ministry will ensure that a conducive environment is created for journalists to professionally do their job.
“As a ministry we are concerned about low salaries some media houses are paying their journalists. I have since instructed that a meeting be arranged with media owners so that we can find a solution to this problem,” she said.
Meanwhile, Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) chairperson Caroline Kalombwe said the poor conditions of service for journalists are worrying.
Ms. Kalombe said if not addressed the situation has potential to compromise the quality of information members of the public are given.
She appealed to the Ministry of Information and Media to take keen interest in the discussions around the proposal for a sector minimum wage for journalists.
“As the saying goes, a hungry journalist is a danger to society and that’s why we want your ministry to seriously take interest in this matter,” she said.
She said her organization is optimistic that once put in place, the proposed media self-regulatory mechanism, will deal with most of the challenges such as wages.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kalombe has urged Government to give chance to women to lead public media institutions.
She said all public media institution have women with requisite qualifications and experience for appointment to top positions.
“Times of Zambia, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Zambia News and Information Services and the Zambia Daily Mail all have women who can provide leadership and stir these organisations to higher heights,” Ms. Kalombe said.
The meeting with ZAMWA is among many that Ms. Kasanda has lined up in her continued engagements with media stakeholders.
This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Information and Media Public and Media Relations Unit.