BEATRICE MWANSA, Lusaka
THE Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has advised media students not to fall into the bandwagon of unethical reporting which has penetrated the
media profession in Zambia.
IBA director for standards, licensing and compliance Eustace Nkandu said the role of the media is to help society make informed decisions by reporting the truth.
Mr Nkandu said this when he addressed students at the Zambia Catholic University media department last week.
He said journalists are trained to balance information disseminated to society.
Mr Nkandu told journalists to hold accountable sources that make outrageous statements and are into name-calling.
He asked journalism students to be creative by bringing out all possible angles of different stories.
“The role of journalists is to be ethical and report the truth. When you report the truth, not everyone will be happy, others are going to be hurt by that truth, but that’s the way to go,” he said.
“Some sources engage into name-calling and make outrageous statements, you need hold them responsible for what they say,” he added.
Mr Nkandu told the upcoming journalists that the IBA as a regulator has issued standards and regulations to uplift ethical standards.
“It is worrying that ethical standards have continued to deteriorate in journalism. The IBA as a regulator is addressing the concerns which individuals might have against a radio or television station, and as viewers and listeners, they may complain to the IBA,” he said.
Mr Nkandu also bemoaned the political divide and polarisation of the media in the country due to unbalanced reporting of news.
“There is so much polarisation and political divide and it is creeping into the media. If you belong to a certain media house then you should be seen to be reporting in a certain manner. But that is not the way things should be. Your role is to bring out the truth and facts,” he said.
Mr Nkandu said the principles of journalism practised around the world are standard regardless of the institution you work for.
“There is no journalism school which teaches biased reporting. Your role is to bring out facts and the truth so that people can make informed decisions based on the information that you give. This means that you need to balance the kind of information you bring out,” he stressed.
“You cannot be seen to be towing on one side only because this is what people will believe. But when people begin to see that you have been towing on the wrong side, then you lose that kind of respect and reputation, and you damage the image of the profession,” he said.
Mr Nkandu further warned the upcoming journalist to be cautious of the changing job market trends that have come with many sources of information.
And Mr Nkandu is happy that a number of universities have incorporated entrepreneurship in their syllabi.
He also disclosed that Government has set up a film fund to help production houses develop content for sale.
He encouraged Journalists to write proposals and become content service providers.
“Develop an entrepreneurship mind, develop skills in writing scripts, preparing props and own your own production house. With the coming of digitalisation, there are so many opportunities that are underway,” he said.