Friday, November 14, 2008

UPND MP calls on govt to sort out The Post

UPND MP calls on govt to sort out The Post
Written by Lambwe Kachali
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:00:27 AM

GWEMBE UPND member of parliament Brian Ntundu yesterday asked the MMD government to seriously sort out The Post now that the election is over, describing the newspaper as “stinking”.

And Matero member of parliament Faustina Sinyangwe said it was a shame for The Post to be advancing selfish interest in its reporting. Meanwhile, independent Luena member of parliament Charles Milupi accused The Post of doctoring pictures that it used on its front page during the elections.

Contributing to the motion to adopt the report by the committee on information and broadcasting services, which was tabled before Parliament, Ntundu said now that MMD had won the presidential election, it should deal with The Post for its unfair coverage towards President Rupiah Banda.

Ntundu said it would be useless for government to fail to deal with The Post when during the run-up to the just ended election; the newspaper was insulting their candidate on a daily basis.

"MMD should be strong enough to sort out such media organisation. In this case, I will not fear, I mean The Post Newspaper. There is no way, the media can become so strong to an extent that it can insult everybody including the head of state, and you are there smiling. If you have problems in sorting out The Post, we shall do that for you. The Post is stinking, it's useless," Ntundu charged.

At this point, Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa intervened and asked Ntundu to withdraw the word 'stinking'.

Ntundu then withdrew the word 'stinking' and described the newspaper as unprofessional.

"I want the government to pass this bill [Freedom of Information Bill] so that the media can be regulated. I am sure even the campaign manger which The Post was supporting is sad because he did not achieve anything," Ntundu said as Patriotic Front (PF) members of parliament asked him whether his party had won the elections.

Ntundu then said he did not mention any party adding that he thought that the PF had paid The Post for the good coverage.

He commended the public media for what he termed fair coverage.

"So, if you have skeletons and fear The Post, it's up to you," Ntundu said as the ministers shouted that they had already started. "The government must regulate the media and not fear them."

And Sinyangwe in apparent reference to The Post said what used to come out of the newspaper as far as campaign coverage was concerned was very unprofessional.

"We will not sit down and see people advancing their selfish interest. It will be wrong to take action when you see people dying because of bad reporting. Journalists must do what is right. We must see to it that ethics are followed all the time when reporting," Sinyangwe said. "Politics is not about insulting each other."

Meanwhile, Milupi said although the media was an important component in the governance of the country, the coverage in the last election was not balanced.

"Last election we have seen the worst coverage of the press. It is proper for a private media to have an editorial position, but it is improper for the media to have day after day in the editorial comment be against one candidate. Even in the jokes and letters to the editor," said Milupi. "They went to an extent of doctoring pictures. I could see that some pictures were blended. It's a shame!"

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