The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), is calling on the Zambian authorities to immediately end attacks on Zambian media as they work to establish self-regulatory mechanism.
According to the Zambian Union of Journalists (ZUJ), a FAJ affiliate, Zambian media organisations are in the process of drafting a self-regulatory framework to set minimum standards on ethics, accuracy, personal rights while fully preserving editorial independence of the country’s media. The self-regulatory mechanism will also help Zambian media to react to legitimate complaints and correct mistakes.
Home Affairs Minister Lameck Mangani has directed the registrar of societies to investigate the legality of the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) Executive Committee, according to media reports. ZUJ believes that the Minister’s threats are intended to deter other media organisations from supporting the self regulation process which is promoted by ZUJ.
“The attacks on PAZA executive were uncalled for and an infringement on the rights of media bodies,” said ZUJ President Morgan Chonya.
The Federation of African Journalists has also condemned the Government’s intervention, describing it as an attempt to intimidate and control the media.
“Zambian journalists know best how to police their profession,” said Omar Faruk Osman, President of FAJ. “Government should not interfere in media affairs. We fully support ZUJ position and we call on the Zambian government to stop attacking media.”
The FAJ says self regulation will strengthen Zambian media as it will show they are accountable to the public they serve and can address concern pertaining to their work.
“Self-regulation will boost public confidence in the media and provide a channel for dialogue between media and the public in Zambia,” added Osman. “It is the only way for responsible media and quality-conscious journalists to deal with concerns from the public about media.”
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The FAJ represents over 36 journalists' unions in Africa