By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Zambia Institute for Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) has demanded for the lifting up of the suspension for five unionized Times of Zambia Journalists based in Ndola.
Times of Zambia workers have gone up to ten months without salaries, a situation that is aggravating poverty among the workers at the government-owned newspaper.
ZIIMA Vice President Jubiel Zulu said that it is saddened that the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC), the umbrella of all parastatals, has not yet given money to the Times of Zambia for the newspaper to settle its arrears, in spite of empty assurances.
Mr Zulu said employers should realize that the main cause of bias, unprofessional and unbalanced reporting is due to poor conditions and unpaid salaries to the journalists.
“We note that every professional journalist’s mandate is to serve the public. But how do starving journalists serve the public when they cannot manage to put food on the table as a result of not being paid?
As ZIIMA, amongst the objectives we have, we will not sit and watch journalists be exploited while claiming their dues; give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” he said.
He said the institution is demanding for the unconditional lifting of the suspension of the five affected workers.
Mr Zulu said ZIIMA has urged employers across the board to think beyond the faces they see everyday working, breaking their backs just so that they can disseminate information of which they are denied their rights to receive the money they work for.
He said it was sad that the same little salaries that journalists receive is delayed.
Mr Zulu has called on stakeholders, which include unions, to address this matter and also urge other journalists facing similar challenges to come forward in order to bring sanity in the profession.