The desperation to disparage and scandalize the current regime is reaching very dangerous proportions and unless checked will have dire consequences for our country because falsehoods are passing for truth and trivialities and quirks of character are gaining more prominence than issues of substance.
Sadly civil society is unthinkingly joining the growing campaign of inanities that are destined to cause confusion, mistrust and at worst serious political antagonism.
It is one thing to disagree with policies pursued by Government but another to deliberately set out to character-assassinate and tarnish the image of innocent individuals.
A typical case is the Edith Nawakwi diatribe against First Lady Esther Lungu who has done nothing out of the ordinary. She is doing exactly what former first lady Christine Kaseba did.
Without any form of investigation NGOCC has joined the bandwagon, demanding a clarification of the First Lady’s role in national development.
The NGOCC can be forgiven for their ignorance and lack of judgement but not Edith Nawakwi who has fashioned herself as a reckless vuvuzela of the desperate fringe that seems to derive perverse and vicarious pleasure in making the most outrageous statements about individuals and depicting them in the worst possible light.
This conduct apart from being unprofessional confirms the worst fears that some sections of the media have become political party instruments if not political parties themselves intent on attaining political change.
This defeats the traditional separation of roles and functions in a democracy in which the fourth estate, namely mass media must exercise objectivity and differentiate between fact and opinion. Where opinion is juxtaposed for fact, is a display of deceit and lack of professionalism because the audience must be allowed to make an informed opinion rather than foster an editorial inclination.
Pandering to the unconventional and/or titillating public curiosity is a form of abuse of the media which must exercise the highest levels of moral gate keeping.
Any journalist must ask what contribution is made to our nascent democracy by publishing pictures of dozing senior leaders apart from scandalizing them without any sense of empathy.
If the intention is to demean then the ploy has failed because increasingly Zambians are beginning to question the motivation of such conduct. It is unfortunate that as a newspaper we are forced to raise ethical issues because journalism is about ethics, morality and transparency.
The depiction of an institution and the people in it as irredeemable failures is neither justified nor a presentation of fact because humanity has its failures and successes and nobody can be made a saint by recounting other peoples failures. If anything this is hypocrisy which gospel values condemn in the strongest possible terms.
Jesus Christ himself dared the Pharisees to cast the first stone if they themselves were righteous and none did so because moral conscience dictates moderation understanding and empathy, indeed those those without are but the proverbial noisy cymbals.