Trust in the Media Baseline Report launched

Trust in the Media Baseline Report launched

MISA has launched the first-ever Trust in the Media baseline report for Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Speaking in a speech read on her behalf by MISA Zambia Board member Martin Akende during the report launch, MISA Zambia Chairperson who is also MISA Regional Chairperson Hellen Mwale says the past decade has been a period of real disruption for the world’s media as it has been characterized by disinformation and misinformation which has undermined trust and destabilized democracy more especially on social media.

Some of the findings of the baseline report show that;

  1. Television and radio commands between a fair amount of trust and a great deal of trust across the three Southern African countries, however, Zimbabwe is largely dominated by television which mainly broads government and business issues and depending on the interest of the viewers, it is believed many would gauge trust through this lens.
  2. There was a general agreement that social media has lowered the standards of journalism across the three countries. For instance, Malawi has a scale of trust for online news websites and social media news platform skewing between ‘not very much trust’ and ‘no trust at all’ and this was attributed to internet access for news.
  3. The report also shows that reporters in community media outlets, independent bloggers and managers of news platforms in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe lack strategic know-how on how to move public discussion from primary to focus on the behaviour of policymakers, whose decisions structure the environment in which people act.

Ms Mwale says the news media is a lens through which people view society and the world at large adding that the media provides a forum for public or political debates which in turn enhances democracy.

MISA Zambia has assured its support in the development of quality journalism and accessible media through strengthening professionalism in the practice of journalism through training programmes, strengthening lobbying and advocacy for the review of all anti-media laws alongside the enactment of media-friendly laws, and, the promotion of media literacy as well as other efforts that scrutinize media behaviour. There is a need for media to promote media literacy among audiences.

“For citizens to make well-informed decisions, there must be a free media. But whilst the media must be free and able to form independent and diverse views, it must be reliable, truthful and therefore trusted” she said.

Speaking that the same event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Amos Malupenga commended MISA Zambia and its partners for undertaking a survey to determine public trust in the media.

Mr. Malupenga says the report is important as it will help the media to assess their relationship with the public to whom their loyalty must be.

Full Report can be accessed on: https://crm.misa.org/upload/web/misa-zambia-trust-in-the-media-baseline-report.pdf

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.