A stakeholder meeting aimed at coming up with a self-regulatory model of the media in Zambia will be held next month, organizers have said.
The holding of a stakeholder meeting comes in the wake of government’s concern that the media has remained unregulated, resulting in high levels of unprofessional and unethical conduct. Enock Ngoma, Chairperson of the Media Liaison Committee, a committee comprising various media organizations, said the objective of the meeting, set for May 9 and 10, was to agree on an effective media self-regulatory model to be adopted for Zambia and agree on a code of conduct as well as an interim committee to lead the implementation of the model.
He was speaking when his delegation met Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo to brief him on the progress the committee has been making towards the attainment of an effective media self-regulatory framework, according to a statement.
The ongoing consultations were in response to calls from government for the media to urgently come up with a regulatory framework to promote ethical and professional media standards in the country, he added. According to him, the meeting will be attended by 250 delegates from media associations, media owners and civil society organizations as well as government representatives to ensure that the agreement made at the meeting will be binding on all.
On his part, the government official welcomed the holding of the meeting, saying government has decided to give the media fraternity time to come up with a proposal for self-regulation.He said the government was happy that the media appreciates the need for a mechanism by which they should regulate themselves in order to enhance ethical and professional journalism in the country.
The official however said the government was of the firm view that any such mechanisms the media come up with to regulate themselves should be backed by law. This, he said, was because past attempts at media self-regulation failed as the attempts were voluntary and could not superintend over the professional behavior of the journalists. It is not government’s intention to regulate the media but the media should regulate themselves through a mechanism established by themselves which has the backing of the law, he added.