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MLC advises media to cover Bill 10 discourse fairly

THE Media Liaison Committee (MLC) has advised its members to cover discourse on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 fairly.

Chairperson Enock Ngoma said even if the topic was emotive, journalists should still cover its debates with a professional approach.

“…However, the MLC has also noted that some of our colleagues in the fraternity have shown bias in their coverage. As a media body that promotes professionalism and ethical journalism, the MLC finds it necessary to counsel colleagues who have taken sides on Bill 10 to desist, exercise caution and be guided by the professional dictates on matters of public interest. We wish to remind our distinguished members in the media fraternity that the actions of those taking sides on matters of national interest are not supported by dictates of our profession,” he said in a statement yesterday. “The media’s role in matters of national interest such as Bill 10 should be to give equal coverage to both the proposing and opposing sides, rather than take sides. Bill 10 has become an emotive subject and calls for responsibility on the part of the journalist. As professionals, we subscribe to unique professional obligations and limitations. We must always remember that we are servants of the people, whose words and actions can easily damage the public trust and respectability of our cherished profession. The Media Liaison Committee (MLC) would like to acknowledge efforts put in by all media institutions in covering public discourse on the National Assembly (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. From the time the Bill was introduced by government, the media have covered all public debates about it very widely. This is in spite of the many challenges the media are facing in this country. The MLC greatly appreciates your commitment to duty.”

He stated that the public deserved factual reporting and informed analysis, hence the need for journalists to adhere to ethics.

“To safeguard the integrity of our profession we are obliged to exercise our professional impartiality. We are mindful that journalists enjoy the right to their opinions, like any other persons, but the public deserve factual reporting and informed analysis without our opinions influencing what they hear or see. Hence, adherence to the Code of Ethics prescribed by the profession is cardinal,” stated Ngoma. “We must strive to report and produce stories that transcend our biases and treat all views fairly. We must always and aggressively challenge our own personal views and pursue a diverse range of others, aiming always to present the truth as completely as we can tell it. As media, we are required to cover all divergent views without taking sides, whether in our reporting or in our discussion programmes on radio or television. As Media Liaison Committee, we shall continue to guide professional journalists in accordance with detects of the profession prescribed in our widely accepted Zambia Media Council Code of Ethics, submitted to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, for purposes of enacting into law the Zambia Media Council Bill to superintend over our media self-regulatory framework.”

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