The media groups in Zambia are planning to organize a stakeholder meeting next month to discuss a self-regulatory system.
The meeting follows the government’s concerns of unprofessional media reporting, which compelled them to threaten statutory regulation.
Today Information permanent secretary, Chanda Kasolo and the Media Liaison Committee led by chairperson Enock Ngoma held a meeting to discuss government’s calls that the media should develop a regulatory framework to maintain ethical and professional standards in the country.
“An all-inclusive stakeholder meeting to come up with a self-regulatory mechanism for the media is set for 9th and 10th May, 2019. This comes in the wake of Government’s concern that the media has remained unregulated resulting in high levels of unprofessional and unethical conduct. The objective of the meeting is to agree on an effective media self-regulatory model to be adopted for Zambia,” according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services after the meeting. “The meeting will also agree on the code of conduct and the interim committee to lead the implementation of the model.”
This statement reaveals that Ngoma briefed Kasolo on the progress of the committee work towards developing an effective media self-regulatory framework.
According to Ngoma, the scheduled meeting is expected to gather over 250 delegates from media associations, media houses and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
“Delegates will include media practitioners, the Civil Society and Government representatives to ensure that the agreements made at the meeting will be binding on all. The Permanent Secretary welcomed the holding of the indaba saying Government has decided to give the media fraternity time to come up with a proposal for self-regulation. Mr. Kasolo is happy that the media appreciate the need for a mechanism by which they should regulate themselves in order to enhance ethical and professional journalism in the country,” the statement read.
“Government, however, is of the firm view that any such mechanism the media come up with to regulate themselves should be backed by law. This is because past attempts at media self-regulation, such as the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC), failed as they were voluntary and could not superintend over the professional behaviour of the Journalists.”
Kasolo said the government did not intend to regulate the media, but the media should be able to regulate themselves through a mechanism developed by themselves in accordance with the law.
At the same meeting, veteran media trainer Oliver Kanene expressed confidence that media self-regulation system would be concluded at the May meeting.