Pledge on payment from ECZ will not be credible without action – MISA Zambia

Pledge on payment from ECZ will not be credible without action – MISA Zambia

MEDIA STATEMENT

For Immediate Release                                                                    Saturday, March 28, 2020.                                                                             

Pledge on payment from ECZ will not be credible without action – MISA Zambia

LUSAKA – MISA Zambia wishes to commend the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for committing to liquidate arrears owed to media houses for disseminating information on the electoral process for the 2016 general elections.

However, this new pledge on payment from ECZ will not be credible if there is no proper action from the commission.

Yesterday, Chief Electoral Officer Kryticous Nshindano pledged that his commission will draw up a payment plan to ensure that all arrears are paid to the media institutions.

This follows a meeting he had with Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Amos Malupenga, who presented the documents on behalf of the media institutions that provided various media services to the Commission. It was agreed in the meeting that the Commission will conduct a reconciliation on all the copies of invoices that were submitted and consult with the various media institutions, where necessary.

It is must be noted that these arrears have been long overdue since 2016 elections and the country is going into another general election in just over a year and the commission has not yet liquidated the arrears. If these moneys could be paid as soon as possible it will go a long to alleviate the suffering of most media houses in Zambia that are owed.

MISA Zambia is cognizant to the fact that in any election, be it local or national, scheduled or by-election, the media carries the important responsibility of informing and educating citizens on various aspects of the elections, such as the actors, issues and processes involved. The media also plays the role of a watchdog that investigates and brings to light issues of concern to the citizens, and how different actors are addressing or ignoring them.

However, financial constraints and other challenges are making it increasingly difficult for the media, especially community media, to effectively carry out this responsibility. Instead of setting the agenda and stimulating engagement on a particular election, they just flow with the wind, as their financial and other challenges make it almost impossible to do things differently.

Every stakeholder including the ECZ must be alert to the financial and other challenges that media houses, have to grapple with in their quest to promote citizens’ participation in democratic processes, such as elections.

MISA Zambia is therefore appealing to the ECZ to expedite the process of paying media houses to cushion their financial challenges.

Lastly let me urge the Journalists in Zambia to always adhere to the ethics of the profession by reporting objectively and constructively as they are the mirror of society.

 

Issued by

Hellen Mwale

MISA Zambia Chairperson

About MISA Zambia

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.