DORA Siliya says there are people who act like media practitioners but are just using the media to become politicians.
And Topstar sales director Cliff Sichone says his organisation has overcome all challenges to connect Chipata.
Officiating at the launch of the Digital Terrestrial Transmission Signal in Eastern Province yesterday, Siliya, the information, in an apparent reference to Socialist Party presidential candidate Dr Fred M’membe, said the media should be responsible.
“What we expect is for the media to do their job, to report truthfully with no interference, to report facts and we don’t want rumours, we don’t want fake news, we don’t want self-aggrandising stories because we see that there were those we thought were media practitioners but they were just using the media to become politicians. I challenge all that. They were lying all the time that they were media practitioners and this is what we have to guard against,” she said.
Siliya said Zambia had 115 radio stations and over 50 TV licences.
“We have the whole democracy of the media but with this comes responsibility. I find it very strange that when people argue usually for the freedom of the media or the press, they tend to believe that it also means irresponsibility; it doesn’t! To have the power to communicate to the public does not mean that you have the power to abuse it and it can become something where you can go about insulting each other and ridiculing government or authority or indeed the office of the President,” she said.
Siliya said the government was also expecting “extreme responsibility” from the private media.
“It’s like in a home when you are raising your child, the older they grow and the more you let them be on their own, in the beginning you walk them to school, they are too young; after a while you begin to trust them that they begin to walk to school on their own because they have learnt something. In the country we also expect that as government gives more and more private sector people an opportunity to make their money from this business, we are also expecting that there will be extreme responsibility,” she said.
Siliya urged media practitioners to differentiate themselves from quark journalists.
“Differentiate yourself from the ones who believe that the media is about hate speech, from the ones who believe that media practice is about insulting, the one who believe that being a media practitioner is to encourage tribalism, is to encourage racism, is to encourage disrespect for each other. We must differentiate ourselves from those and call them out because what we expect all of us is for the media to do their job,” she said.
Siliya said the launch meant that all districts in the province, with the exception of Vubwi, would have access to Topstar.
She also said digital migration had a lot of benefits to the people adding that Zambia wants to go forward with the technology trend in the world.
Earlier, Eastern Province minister Makebi Zulu who was represented by provincial assistant secretary Royd Tembo said it was gratifying that the digital migration technology had become a reality in the province.
Zulu said he was aware that switching from analogue to digital terrestrial television was an exercise that the government was taking seriously.
And Sichone said Chipata was the last of all the towns earmarked for DTT transmission installation.