Thursday, July 14, 2011

TIZ backs LAZ’s concerns over ZNBC’s biased coverage

TIZ backs LAZ’s concerns over ZNBC’s biased coverage
By Ernest Chanda
Thu 14 July 2011, 14:01 CAT

TRANSPARENCY International Zambia has backed the position taken by LAZ over the biased coverage of ZNBC. In a statement yesterday, TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu said the biased coverage of MMD activities as exhibited by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation should be condemned by every noble Zambian.

He said concerns raised by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) over the conduct of ZNBC were timely and in public interest.

“The Law Association of Zambia is therefore on firm grounds in raising concerns on the biasness that ZNBC has taken and does not need to be demonized for doing the right things. TIZ wishes to appeal to all law-abiding citizens not to promote a culture of violating the law for private interests,” Lungu stated.

He stated that ZNBC was supposed to provide fair coverage since it was funded by the public.

Lungu stated that the discrimination that ZNBC was displaying could not go unquestioned.

“Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) would like to fully back the position taken by the Law Association of Zambia on the blatant biasness that the public media in particular the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has continued to exhibit.

It is public knowledge that the public media who are funded by public resources owned by all Zambian citizens should be able to cover events in a free and fair manner and within the confines of the law,” Lungu stated.

“TIZ has also fallen victim of ZNBC’s unprofessional bias when it continued barring a fully paid-for Television programme from being aired and produced last year until a deadlock was reached and a refund of over K50 million done.

TIZ wrote last year informing ZNBC management that they had become more political than professional by being too biased.

We wish to remind ZNBC that the TV levies and public funds that they use for their operations do not come from the ruling party or MMD members alone but these resources come from all Zambians who expect their views to be heard and covered fairly.”

Lungu has since implored the public media to observe high professional standards and to contribute to the democratic process of the country.

On Tuesday, LAZ honorary secretary Paulman Chungu said the association would continue to give opinions on the law and rule of law without fear of any reprisals or favour in spite of the unwarranted personal attacks on the association's spokespersons and elected representatives.

“The Law Association of Zambia is concerned about the attacks on the LAZ president Mr Musa Mwenye following the statement on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

LAZ wishes to place it on record that as LAZ president Musa Mwenye is the spokesperson of LAZ and as such he expresses the views of LAZ,” Chungu said.

He said all the statements issued by the association's president were not issued in his personal capacity but represented a well reasoned and researched position of LAZ.

“The attacks on the LAZ president, or indeed an officer of LAZ speaking in an official capacity, as an individual are unjustified.

The association has internal consultative processes that are well articulated and time tested and these processes were engaged in the case of the current topic as on all matters on which LAZ adds its voice,” said Chungu.

A week ago, Mwenye urged ZNBC to stop flouting the law in the manner it was currently covering national affairs.

However, information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha refuted LAZ’s observations that ZNBC was biased in the manner it disseminates news and general information to the public.

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