THE SADC region is portrayed as one marred by conflict, disease and poverty, says Livingstone acting district commissioner Harriet Kawina.
And Lubasi Mungandi, who is foreign affairs assistant director in-charge of regional integration, says there has been complaints from some people over President Edgar Lungu’s SADC trips due to ignorance of the organ’s importance.
Opening the SADC success stories media training workshop at the Courtyard Hotel, Kawina told the journalists that the media lacked capacity, depth and specialisation on issues.
“On the political front, SADC remains a beacon of peace and stability in the post-colonial era as member states continue to work together in deepening the regional integration and development agenda for the wellbeing and prosperity of it’s citizenry,” she said.
“These and other achievements have, however, not received the required visibility and publicity in the country, the region and beyond. Instead, and unfairly so, those who cannot appreciate the good things that are happening here continue to portray us as a region marred by conflict, disease, poverty, under-achievement and under-development,” Kawina said.
She noted that SADC media coverage was usually associated with high profile events such as the SADC summit of the Head of States, press conferences and press releases with few newsrooms initiating their news stories on the regional organ.
Kawina said the media was more inclined to politics at the expense and exclusion of more urgent and important issues of development and the economy.
She revealed that workshop participants would write stories for a magazine to showcase some of the success stories of SADC in Zambia and will be launched by President Edgar Lungu in coincidence with the 39th SADC Heads of State Summit to be held in Tanzania in August.
Mungandi said it had been a challenge to measure the challenges of SADC.
“Most common citizens don’t know the benefits of SADC…people complain of the President’s travel but don’t know what the benefits are,” he said.
Mungandi said the workshop funded by the European Union and the German government was aimed at making journalists appreciate the benefits of SADC.
An economist and journalist Chibamba Kanyama is one of the workshops facilitators.
19 journalists are attending the workshop and will also visit some developmental projects in Kazungula and Sesheke on Friday and Saturday.