Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Zukas raises concern over public media's 'new direction'
By Stuart Lisulo
Thu 17 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

VETERAN politician Simon Zukas says the direction public media is taking is a source of concern under the leadership of information and broadcasting permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba.

Zukas, who resigned from the board of the Zambia Daily Mail earlier this month citing bad corporate governance practices by Mwamba, said yesterday that "one has to be sensitive to the new changes coming from the new permanent secretary."

"Some of it are explicit where he has been very vocal; you can see the atmosphere as being directed from behind the scenes in the new direction and if it goes on like that, it will be back to the point where the public media will not be respected. It will be written off and new media will arrive. I am very worried about this new trend. No one has announced the change of course, but one is sensitive,'' he said.

Zukas observed that the quality and standards of journalism may be affected.

"In terms of balance, the public media is being tilted. The public media is owned by the government shareholders, but they should not be so orientated that they only give the shareholders' view. They should give the country's view and be fair and balanced,'' he said.

Zukas said regulation of the public media had 'started well' and was 'open ended,' but was concerned about the way public media was being used to serve the interests of certain government officials.

But in an interview, Mwamba said the Zambia Daily Mail board, which had its last sitting on Friday, found it erroneous for Zukas to be a board member of both the Zambia Daily Mail and The Post newspapers.

"The Daily Mail cannot run like The Post,'' said Mwamba.
And when asked to address some of the concerns Zukas raised with regards to standards and fairness of the public media, Mwamba said the public media operated differently and that Zukas's board membership of The Post ran into competition with his membership of the Zambia Daily Mail.

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