Monday, 17 May 2010

I write what I like....

The Press In Zambia...

By Daimone Siulapwa 16th May, 2010.

AM certainly sure that the press in Zambia would have loved to commemorate this year's World Press Freedom Day under different conditions from the ones they did.

The World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3 every year, for our local pressmen and women, came at a time when they are embroiled in what you may call a fight with the government.

On one hand, the government wants to introduce statutory regulation while on the other, the press want to stick to self-regulation.

Both sides have advanced their own reasons, and drafted some form of framework as in how they plan to have the media perform its role.

Of course the press has rejected the proposal put forward by government much the same way the authorities have failed to embrace those of the men and women with pens.

Something unique about this is that the media are united on this, at least in so far as self-regulation in Zambia is concerned. Everyone is agreed that the media in Zambia is too polarized - we have two extremes with little, if any, liberalism.

But what we have so far witnessed so far is unprecedented in terms of media unity in this country.

Of course it is not like these men and women who inform, educate, entertain and influence us are enemies, most of them are friends at a personal level despite working what you call competing media organisations.

That aside, what do we go for - self-regulation or statutory regulation. Journalism, like any other profession, is subject to certain ethics and codes of conduct.

But as there is really no regulation per se, the profession has been invaded by what you may call quacks.

There is a feeling that some of these practitioners are conducting themselves in a partisan manner, and that they are using in their reportage, language that is unsuitable. As a result of this, government feels there is need to tame them through statutory regulation.

Depending on which side you are on, you have already taken a position. I also have one, and its not new. I strongly believe in responsible journalism, get that right, I have not said self-regulation or statutory regulation. Ladies and gentlemen, I simply want responsible journalism in this country. I want journalists, who without fear or favour will carry, be able to carry their mandate of informing me, educating me, entertaining me and influencing me, without any bias whether he is from private or public media.

If you asked me, we need the media much more than we need the legislature, judiciary and executive. It is not for a joke that they are called the fourth estate.

Like Thomas Jefferson, the former United States President said, I would prefer a press without the government to a government without the press.

No comments:

Post a Comment