Journalists mustn’t allow themselves to be used as mercenaries – MISA

MISA Zambia chairperson Helen Mwale says media owners and journalists must not allow themselves to be used as mercenaries to drag others into the mud.During the 15th MISA Awards at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday night, Mwale said the media had enormous power.


She noted that the media seemed to have ceded power to set the national agenda to politicians and serial callers.


 Such actions contribute in no way to strengthening our political culture and democracy. The power we have as journalists cannot be underestimated,

Mwale said.


She quoted socialist Malcom X, who said the media was the most powerful entity on earth as it had power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent.


“Because we control the minds of the masses, how we exercise this power can make or break the nation,” Mwale said. “Media owners and journalists must not allow themselves to be used as mercenaries to drag others and institutions into the mud. Doing so will hinder the growth of the media and turn the admiration people ought to have for the media into disdain and contempt. It will amount to what Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe once said and I quote: ‘He who will hold another man in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down’.”


She said although Zambians lived in an information age, the pursuit of truth had not become easier over time. Mwale urged the private sector to sponsor media awards to help promote excellence in journalism.


She praised the talents of journalists who exposed the truth.


“Those greedy for power use a range of unsavory methods to hide information including censorship, disinformation, harassment, arbitrary arrests and even murder,

Mwale said.


She said there was no shortcut to achieving excellency, which was a product of meticulousness and alloy desire for truth, balance, relevance, social impact, ethical standard and language presentation in.


“It is this kind of excellency that has produced media personalities in our country such as our beloved and charismatic Charles Mando and many other distinguished Zambian journalists such Ambassador Frank Mutubila, Mr Hicks Sikazwe, Mr Ben Kangwa, Dr Fred M’membe, Mr Godfrey Malama, Ms Josephine Mapoma, Mr Bright Mwape, Mr Jowie Mwiinga, Mrs Juliana Mwila, among others,” Mwale said.


Together, their collective contributions for the betterment of our society through journalism are apparent.


She said the quest for professional excellence should not end at the awards ceremony but be the beginning. Mwale said the media was vital as it protected public interest and were the voices of those who had no one to speak for them.


Independent Broadcasting Authority deputy chairperson Pat Mwase said the media’s contributions to the country must not be undermined. Mwase said journalists had done a good job appreciating their work.

Former Post managing editor Joan Chirwa won an award for her contribution to press freedom. News Diggers scooped the best online publication.Other winners under the special recognition Awards included:

Yatsani Radio  – most interactive community radio; Grevazio Zulu – best interviewer; Alex N’goma – best political analyst; Gillian Lwando – best economics analyst; Choklet of The Mast – best cartoonist; Stanslous Ngosa of Times of Zambia – best columnist.

Other category winners, among many others, included Tiyese Njovu (Daily Nation) – best features writer; Muvi TV – best coverage; Jona Dingindaba Muyoya (Diamond TV) – best TV presenter; Laura Miti – best social media opinion leader and Paddy Mukando of Radio Phoenix got the best presenter award.

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