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Information PS reaffirms Govt’s resolve to Promotion of media freedoms

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has reiterated Government’s commitment in the promotion of media freedoms and safety in the country.
Officiating at the workshop on the Safety of Journalists in Zambia, Amos Malupenga says promoting the safety of journalists is essential for preserving the fundamental right to freedom of expression which is guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia.
Mr. Malupenga stated that any interference, disturbance, harassment, violence or attack against journalists is an infringement on media freedom and the public’s right to information, which is unacceptable.
He said Government is alive to the fact that creating and preserving a safe working environment for journalists as well as promoting ethical and professional journalism is a collective responsibility that requires a multi-sectoral approach involving all stakeholders.
He added that Government is highly supportive of the initiative to promote the safety of journalists that Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), with the support of cooperating partners, has embarked upon countrywide.
“On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, I, therefore, take this opportunity to thank the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Democracy Strengthening in Zambia (DSZ) Project and UNESCO, together with its implementing partners the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA – Zambia), BBC Media Action and Media Owners Association of Zambia (MOAZ), for embarking on these workshops aimed at sharing best practices in promoting the safety of journalists in Zambia.”
“Government notes with delight that more of our cooperating partners, such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and France, are also expected to come on board to support this important project. I am also delighted that the project will also be rolled out to other provinces and districts around the country with the aim of promoting the safety of journalists, on one hand and inspiring professionalism among them, on the other. I urge that more and particular attention be paid to Community Radio Stations who, in our view, require more capacity building,” Mr. Malupenga said.
And Mr. Malupenga said the media, as well has a big role to play in promoting a safe working environment for them, by adhering to high ethical and professional standards in their work, which is particularly crucial during elections when tempers of contestants and their supporters are usually high.
He urged the media to be at their best, ethically and professionally, during such times so that no one takes advantage of any professional lapse in their work to harass them.
“While competition for a scoop is healthy, whereby every media house would love to be the first one to report breaking news, the same should not be at the expense of the truth, objectivity, accuracy, verification of facts and balance, which are fundamental tenets of journalism.”
“Journalists should also pay particular attention to the context of their reports because anything reported out of context is likely to cause conflict between the media and the affected sources of news,” he advised.

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