The absence of media ethics and professional journalism at the Post Newspaper have riled Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili who has warned of Government regulation.
“If the media does not stop this rot then we shall be forced to impose regulation and sanity,” he has warned.
“How do you have a headline stating that President Lungu sneaks out to drink and the story does not say when and where the President was seen sneaking out to drink?” Mr. Kambwili asked.
“You go further and coerce an opposition member to make a comment to legitimize the fabrication. This is evil and unprofessional. If the President acts to protect his integrity they will cry foul,” he said.
“Which President has remained in State House cacooned without visiting friends and relatives outside?” he asked.
“This is not journalism. It is peddling hate and malice. This is tempting the Government because journalism ethics and morality are based on truth. You cannot have a lying headline to attract readers in order to sell newspapers. This is criminal.” he said.
Last month civil activist Brebner Changala charged that the Post newspaper had become a political party with an agenda.
“Government is shocked by the kind of journalism being practiced by the Post Newspaper and we believe the owner of the newspaper is wantonly breaching media ethics to prompt Government’s action,” Mr. Kambwili said.
Media bodies, he said, had been advocating self regulation and had even established the Media Council of Zambia (MECOZ) which was moribund. We may be compelled to come up with State regulatory measures since the Post does not want to exercise responsibility and none of the professional bodies seems to have the courage to correct the situation.”
“We know the Post Newspaper owner hates the President with a passion and will do anything to scandalize and malign him but this cannot constitute grounds to fabricate stories to scandalize him. We cannot continue watching while the presidency is being demeaned,” he said.
Mr Kambwili, who is Chief Government spokesperson, said at no time during the Hot FM radio show did President Lungu say that he had been sneaking out of State House to go and drink as the Post Newspaper erroneously suggested in its banner headline in yesterday’s edition.
Mr Kambwili has appealed to opposition political parties to support Government in its quest to introduce State regulatory measures to regulate the media because journalists had abandoned their ethics.
Mr Kambwili chastised Kalomo UPND member of Parliament Request Muntanga for having accepted to be used by the Post newspaper in their hate and malice campaign against President Lungu.
He said he had a lot of respect for Mr Muntanga stating that it was unbecoming for the Kalomo PM to pour odium on a Head of State over non-existence allegations against the President.
“Mr Muntanga and his UPND are aspiring to come into Government and I do not think they would be happy that Mr Hakainde Hichilema should be abused in the manner President Lungu is being abused. Even if the Post and Mr Muntanga hate President Lungu in the manner they have exhibited, they should show respect to the institution of the presidency. Mr Muntanga should apologise for his careless remarks,” Mr Kambwili said.