By Mike Sichula
The Zambia Institute of Independent Media Alliance strongly condemns the psychological harassment, humiliation and embarrassment caused by the ruling Patriotic front secretary general Davies Mwila at a media briefing to two innocent prime TV journalists.
The SG told the reporters to leave in view of Labour Minister Joyce Nonde and Fisheries and Livestock Minister Kampamba Mulenga Chewe saying Prime TV Station does not air most of their stories despite their reporters being present at most of their assignments.
This happened yesterday when he announced the expulsion of Bahati Lawmakers, Harry Kalaba.
We didn’t not attend the media event but we have established that Toliwe Chanda, Camera Lady and Njenje Chizu, are the Journalists who were told to go despite an official invitation to attend the media briefing.
ZIIMA interim Chairman, JAJAH COULIBALY, in a statement availed to Our Team of Analysts looking at history, no past secretary general has ever embarrassed and humiliated a journalist at that office from the time the late President Michael Sata founded the Patriotic front, a sign that Mr Mwila is an enemy to free media an objective that ZIIMA holds close to its heart.
Mr Mwila, is an elderly Man heading the governing Political Party, which demands that his handling of issues is under close spotlight.
We do not know the reason behind his primitive action but whatever that could be is a shame to the PF Leadership. What is the PF telling the nation.
The PF is forgetting that a section of society is angered at the manner it is abusing the National Broadcaster where in a News bulletin, story one to six is about PF Private media is an alternative platform for the opposition and other citizens not covered by the National Broadcaster.
But this must not to be interpreted to mean that the Private Media must be bias in their coverage of Political parties.
But again not everything done by either the opposition or ruling party deserves to be in the news. For instance, we do not believe that donation or stage political defections should be in the News. Let what the right hand does not to be known by the left hand.
We agree with ZIIMA position to say “as a media body run by seasoned and practicing journalists, we wish to
make it clear to the PF Secretary General that reporters are not the ones that choose what airs on TV or what is published in the papers, that is the responsibility of editors with reasons known best by them”.
Instead of complaining about coverage, Mr Mwila, should be concerned about building the image of the ruling party especially to those that do not believe or bought into it’s manifesto. Journalists or media houses are not in the business of image building, NO. The media reports and interprets what is channeled out by their sources. Simple!
We do not entirely think, Mr Mwila, was signalling the PF’s new stance against Private Media in Zambia as who shou attend and stay away from their events.
But again, if you look at it from this other angle, State House events are not very open to all media outlets, off course, we know the space cannot allow hence at times State House rotates who attends to scheduled assignments, which is understandable.
But we also know how their Cadres intimidate Journalists. Sometimes, it is almost impossible to ask questions that seems to be critical of the ruling Party at State functions.
From the video we captured on Prime TV, it seems Mr Mwila, had directed his Media Team not to invite the Private Television Station but they took him for a joke and went ahead to welcome the two Journalists. If that is the assumption, Mr. Mwila, is alone in this embarrassing scheme.
The division in the media will mean Mr Mwila and The PF will get away with this cheap aggressive stance against Private Media Houses because we know the PF dishes out “a 100 kwacha to each Journalist who attends their events as transport refund” a united Media could have walked out from that event so that Mr. Mwila addresses only Journalists from the Public Media and those that support the PF.
Finally, we know how difficult it is as the media to satisfy everyone in their operation but that does not call for bending on their editorial policy, these Politicians come and go.
Those who disagree with Private Media Houses today will run to the same institutions when the time comes. Examples are many in our Society.
Mr Chishimba Kambwili, the former Information Minister when he was at the helm, he was disrespectful and a threat to the existence of the the Private Media but today he does stop knocking on the doors of Private Media Houses for coverage.
#ToliweChanda, and #NjenjeChizu, yours is a noble duty. We urge you to remain strong and not be defeated. You did nothing wrong.
The Speech Analyst