Hate messages being promoted against opposition leaders by public media are planting a seed of genocide, Human Rights campaigner Brebner Changala has warned.
He warned that in the last two months the private state media had orchestrated a campaign against former President Rupiah Banda, UPND President Hichilema Hakainde and MMD President Nevers Mumba, depicting them as incapable to lead and only fit for Prison.
These negative aspersions, he said, were dangerous because all the three leaders had a following which was injured and did not take the insults lightly.
“While attacking other leaders the same media showered “unbridled” praise on President Michael Sata-the man of action.” He said.
“This kind of propaganda which my own church, the Catholic Church, is witnessing has the potential of not only polarizing the nation but building deep seated resentment that could erupt into a crisis that will result in Rwanda genocide.” He warned.
Media, he said, should be used to build and not destroy.
The use of media to denounce individuals who lacked the means to respond was an abuse that could backfire by planting a seed of hatred that would erupt into conflict and subsequent conflagration because those individuals targeted with hate messages had supported who felt equally injured by the attacks.
He added that the media had become a source of embarrassment because it had become opportunistic and concentrated on destroying individuals rather than championing national causes of import and significance.
He cited the case of former President Rupiah Banda who was blacked out even when he performed important international duty “Even his current duty in Kenya, monitoring elections has been blacked out.”
The media, he said should not be used as a platform to disseminate hatred against those who were deemed to be against the Patriotic Front.
“Anybody who speaks against the PF is being portrayed as an enemy of the country who should be dealt with ruthlessly in editorials and state policy.” He said.
Mr. Changala said that the private media which had also turned itself into state media did not want anybody to criticize the PF and were targeted with character assassination, innuendo and all manner of vilification.
Such people, he said, were blacked out from the media.
Meanwhile, he said the Catholic Church- a major player in Zambian politics, was watching on the sidelines as the situation of extreme national fragmentation was taking place ” The civil society has also gone to bed. The energy they exhibited during the campaign against the MMD has dissipated leaving an aura of suspicion on their silence.”
What I would like the media to know is that preaching and spreading hatred against individuals would bring chaos in the country and the media itself would not be spared as was the case in Rwanda.