ECZ calls for balanced media reporting


By Nation Reporter

THERE is need to report fairly and accurately on campaigns of all the political parties involved in an election so that the electorate can make informed choices, says Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) director Priscilla Isaacs.

She said the commission has also noted the emergence of online media, citizen journalism and greater citizen participation in public dialogue through cyberspace.

Speaking at a media training workshop in Lusaka yesterday, Ms Isaacs said  the workshop was aimed to equip journalists with the knowledge of electoral process in view of the amended Zambian Constitution , the electoral legal framework and the new media practice which include internet and social media.

Ms Isaacs said inaccurate or false news reports could ruin an individual’s reputation or cause public unrest, hence the media should not misuse its power by twisting the news and using it as a personal weapon to deliberately harm anyone.

She said responsible media practitioners were expected to use only honest methods to obtain news; and to adapt to change and shift the approach to meet the needs of the public.

Ms Isaacs explained that during this campaign period preceding the voting day, the media had at least three important subjects to report on,  which were political partie themselves and their candidates, pertinent issues in the various party manifestoes and the voting process including election regulations and processes.

Ms Isaacs said the commission regarded the media as vital stakeholders in the electoral process hence should understand the electoral process and particularly their role and that of the electoral commission to ensure fair and balanced stories.

She noted that for citizens to make well-informed decisions in an election, there must be a free media which was also reliable, truthful and therefore trusted.