As Zambia tomorrow joins the rest of the world in commemorating the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), government has given a go ahead to the media to launch the Zambia Media Council- ZAMEC to regulate professional conduct of Journalists.
ZAMEC which is aimed at creating a free media that is responsible to promoting quality journalism that facilitates citizenry demands and sensitivities was not launched last year in the previous MMD regime due to the latter government changing goal posts.
Information, Broadcasting and Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda says the media is free to set their own agenda in their noble role of informing, educating and entertaining the public.
Mr Shamenda said this on both Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation-ZNBC radio and television on the eve of the WPFD which falls on May 3.
The global theme for this year’s WPFD is “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Society while the national theme in Zambia is “Access to Information: A Prerequisite to a Transformed Society.”
Mr Shamenda explained that the Patriotic Front government inherited a public media that had suffocated under heavy political patronage and interference in the previous MMD government adding that the public lost confidence because the media was highly compromised, unprofessional and acted un-ethically.
Mr Shamenda, who is also Chief Government Spokesperson, said the PF government has embarked on a wide range of measures to reposition the media as a voice of the voiceless, eyes and ears of the public.
He said the PF government has decontrolled, deregulated and depoliticized the media saying the media are no longer a preserve of the party in power.
Measures put in place to reposition the media in the country include the process towards the enactment of the Freedom of Information bill which is underway and the Independent Broadcasting Authority bill which is being actualised and will soon be announce.
Mr Shameenda also revealed that the PF Government has embarked on a project to set up television stations in all the 10 provinces of the country to accord the local people a voice in the governance and developmental issues in their localities.
He further disclosed that the digital migration agenda is gaining momentum in line with the 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunication Union.
Government is further addressing the poor or non- existence of radio and television, poor infrastructure and other technological inadequacies such as accessing to internet especially in rural areas.
He reiterated government’s determination to ensuring that public access to information as a prerequisite to a transformed and prosperous nation is attained.
Mr Shamenda stated that the two themes were timely in line with the PF government’s agenda to empower citizens with information so that they participate effectively in the governance and development of the country.