INFORMATION permanent secretary Amos Malupenga says journalists should create value for themselves.
And University of Zambia lecturer Basil Hamusokwe says journalists should create value for their profession before they are valued by other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, MISA-Zambia says people require assertive media.
Speaking to journalists after the launch of the MISA-Zambia Trust in the media baseline report in Lusaka on Friday, Malupenga, who was commenting on remarks by Dr Hamusokwe, said journalists should not be shy to go back to school and upgrade themselves.
“We’ve seen people going back to school. Even journalists should not feel shy to do that. I think the issue that we need to look at is the issue of creating value for ourselves as journalists. When I came back to the Ministry of Information, I raised the issue of blalizo, we know what blalizo is, don’t we? Blalizo means accepting a small payment for you to write or report on a story. For example, the way we have come here to launch the report, journalists will ask for a small payment from the organisers and some of them would call it transport refund but at the core of it ‘it’s to say, I am hungry and I have not been paid’ now in the process we have sold ourselves,” he said.
Malupenga said journalists have lowered themselves to extents where they were judged around small things like cocktail.
“Now because of such things, we’ve created this value for ourselves that if someone can give us a beer, food then they can buy our souls. This needs to change. When I talked about blalizo, I heard feedbacks from a number of newsrooms complaining. So the moment we don’t value ourselves and we accept those things, we are lowering our profession,” he said.
And responding to a question from Brighton Phiri from the Media Liason Committee on the ZAMEC draft which was handed over to the ministry, Malupenga said a lot of progress had been made on the matter in the past few months.
“We are waiting for the matter to be tabled before cabinet and once that is done then it will be heading towards Manda Hill for presentation,” he said.
Malupenga commended MISA-Zambia and its partners for undertaking a survey to determine public trust in the media.
He said the report was good because it would help the media assess their relationship with the public to whom their loyalty must be.
“I note that among other issues, the report highlight the following as reasons for loss of public trust and confidence in the media; biasness, media capture, and political polarisation. The report also cites inaccurate media coverage and lack of in-depth analysis of issues as some of the reason for the erosion of public trust in the media. This report, therefore, serves as a timely reminder for the media in Zambia to be professional at every given time and ensure that professional ethics remain key guiding principles in their operations,” said Malupenga.
And Dr Hamusokwe said journalists should add value to the professional.
“There is need for us to create value in ourselves as journalists and once we do that then we are going to be valued by other stakeholders. The media as it is now, anyone can practice and anyone can write,” he said.
Dr Hamusokwe said it would be difficult for other people to value journalists when they do not value themselves.
He also shared the findings of the 2019/2020 baseline report.
MISA-Zambia board representative Martin Akende said the media has a more