ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia(ECZ) Director Dan Kalale has observed that some sections of the media in Zambia have breached the Electoral Code of Conduct (ECC) during election campaigns with impunity through irresponsible reporting.
Mr Kalale said this in Livingstone today when he presented a paper on challenges in the management and enforcement of the electoral code of conduct at the ongoing four days workshop at Fairmount Hotel.
The workshop organized by ECZ and sponsored by the United Nations Development Programmes has been convened to review the Electoral Code of Conduct. The participants include political parties, the media, civil society, the police and other interest groups.
Mr Kalale said the irresponsible reporting by some sections of the media has resulted in the instigation of violence during elections.
He said while the code directs all media to provide fair and balanced reporting for all candidates during campaigns, the situation has not been so.
On political parties, Mr Kalale said while the code holds them and their candidates to strict adherence though attestation of declaration of compliance when filing nominations, political cadres on the other hand seemed to be remote to the code.
He said this is evident in election violence orchestrated mainly by cadres, popularly known as foot soldiers.
The ECZ director said violence is rarely perpetrated by candidates but by their supporters and this situation is responsible for the escalation of violence in the recent by elections.
Mr Kalale said it is the hope of the commission that when the new constitution is put in place, the powers of ECZ will be expanded in enforcing the code.
And University of Zambia School of mass communication lecturer Eustace Nkandu called for the privatization of the public media in order to create a level playing field in the coverage of election candidate.
Presenting a paper on challenges faced by the media in adhering to the electoral code of conduct, Mr Nkandu observed that ownership of the media was critical in providing a level playing field.