REGULATION & POLICY

Zambia: 'Media Bill is Our Baby', says Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services

THE Government has implored politicians and media practitioners in Zambia to desist from maligning Vice-President George Kunda over the draft media bill because he has no hand in the matter.

Chief Government spokeperson Ronnie Shikapwasha said in Lusaka Kunda was not responsible for the draft bill as it was under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

As such, Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha said it was wrong for media practitioners and some politicians to regard Kunda as number one enemy of the media saying, such insinuations were simply meant to malign the vice-president and make him look bad in the eyes of the public.

He said the draft bill has not yet reached Kunda and therefore, wondered why media bodies and some politicians were involving the vice-president in a matter that had not yet reached his attention.

Gen Shikapwasha, who is Information and Broadcasting Services minister said it was wrong for media bodies to be attacking the Government over a bill that was still in draft form and therefore, eligible for input from members of the public and media practitioners.

He said if anything, the bill would be brought before a parliamentary committee at which stage various stakeholders would be accorded an opportunity to present suggestions on how a credible legislation would be formulated.

The Government was in full support of self-regulation of the media as has been evidenced through the latitude that has been given to media bodies to come up with self-regulatory mechanism. Gen Shikapwasha said when the media bodies presented a concept paper on self-regulation, the document did not stipulate how the mechanism would work in Zambia.

"They presented a concept paper on what their findings on self regulation were in South Africa and Kenya but they have not said what mechanism will be used in Zambia. I will be meeting them soon so that they state how they hope it will work locally," Gen Shikapwasha said.

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