Zambian Cabinet approves Media Bill

Zambian Cabinet approves Media Bill

The Zambian government has approved the Zambia Council for Journalists Bill, 2020.

Speaking in a statement after the 17th cabinet meeting (continuation) held at state House, Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya says cabinet has approved in principle the introduction of the Zambia Council for Journalists Bill, 2020 to parliament which will provide for the establishment of a self-regulatory body for journalists.

Ms. Siliya says the establishment of the Zambia Council for Journalists will provide a legal framework for the profession to thrive, making it more effective and efficient.

MISA Zambia has commended Cabinet for approving in principle the Zambia Council for Journalists Bill, 2020, Media Development Policy and the National Information Communication Policy.

MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale says the organization is optimistic that there will be no surprises from the government over the draft Zambia Media Council bill that was submitted to government last year that has culminated into the Zambia Council for Journalists Bill.

Below is a statement issued by MISA Zambia;

LUSAKA – MISA Zambia would like to commend cabinet for approving in principle the Zambia Council for Journalists Bill, 2020, Media Development Policy and the National Information Communication Policy.

Free media plays a critical role in promoting democratic governance in Zambia as well as other democratic countries. We are convinced that the Bill is key in resolving complaints and promoting professionalism and accountability in the media fraternity.

This indeed shows that the Presidency and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services have taken matters of Media development at heart and we hope the development will extend to support media freedom.

MISA Zambia is optimistic that there will be no surprises from the government over the draft Zambia Media Council bill that was submitted to government last year that has culminated into the Zambia Council for Journalists Bill.

In as much as we want professional media practitioners, journalists also expect the government to respect their submissions on statutory self-regulation of the media that was made last year.

MISA Zambia being part of the Technical Working Group is committed to the self-regulation document because the organisation is alive to the fact that people desire a free, independent, assertive, vibrant and responsible media that would effectively advance democracy, human rights, good governance and socio-economic transformation.

Above all the want a media that is professional. As we know that the news media is a lens through which people view society and the world at large. This is why we believe that the media now have a more vital role to play than ever before.

It is also good that the Media Development Policy was also approved. Zambia’s first official media policy was first drafted in 1996 and was in effect until 1999 when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services set out to review it. The 1996 Media and Information Policy document continued to be the official blueprint in policy matters on media.

Several developments have taken place in the media industry which needed an amendment to the 1996 document. This policy framework is indeed needed so that the media is not left in an awkward position where they are required to channel their efforts in a more organised and systematic manner that would contribute significantly to the nation’s aspirations for her development.

With all these developments in the media sector, MISA Zambia believes that the media now have a more vital role to play than ever before.

This is a moment of great opportunity. A time for the media to redouble its commitment to professionalism, and stand up for integrity in news like never before.

It is in this line that MISA Zambia will continue to support the development of quality journalism and accessible media through; Strengthening professionalism in the practice of journalism through training programmes.

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.