The Free Press Initiative (FPI) Founder Joan Chirwa cites the importance of bringing on board Citizen Journalists that are running online media platforms and publish news to undergo a training in media ethics.
Ms Chirwa noted that with the growing presence of digital platforms right now, it is necessary for people who might be interested in carrying out journalistic work but have not undergone formal training to be brought on board and assisted with knowledge that is critical to their operations as they are also in the business of disseminating information to the people.
“Lack of understanding of what guides the practice of journalism may become detrimental because an unethical practice of journalists is so bad such that it can actually cost people’s lives and damage people’s reputation,” she said
She added that educating people on the ethics that guide the practice of journalism will make it much easier to see some level of professionalism that everybody else expects from the media industry.
Ms Chirwa highlighted this in an interview with Lusaka Times during a two days journalism training in Media Ethics organised in collaboration with WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom Committee held at Taj Pamodzi Hotel.
And Mthoniswa Banda a Media Consultant said that there is media literacy where society is learning how to interpret media sources, products and verify information that is shared in the media and the onus of online media is that if one lies or publishes a bad story citizens, readers, viewers and listeners have multiple sources where they can counter check to see whether the information is correct or not.
“If they find that the information you have been chaining out is not correct, you tend to lose value, clients, listeners and viewers,” he said
Mr Banda added that traditional and online media are the same and the only difference is the platform used to disseminate information, and online media should ensure that they do a good job in their service delivery.
“All the values of journalism still apply to online media, be truthful, factual, ethical and do a good story because failure to do this will make you lose credibility and sources,” he stated