Sport

FAZ should not muzzle press

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
THE banning of sports journalist Augustine Mukoka by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) ethics committee has come as a shock to the media fraternity.
It has exposed the lack of appreciation of the role played by journalists in society.
A journalist’s role is to investigate and publish.
Investigating entails getting hold of documents which may have news of public interest such as the allowances Mukoka had access to.
Instead of dealing with the issue of allowances – whether the executive committee deserved them or not – the ethics committee has gone witch-hunting.
And unfortunately, Mukoka has fallen victim to the committee’s witch- hunting and has been handed a 90-day provisional ban for illegally circulating documents from FAZ.
He has been banned alongside former FAZ executive committee member Pivoty Simwanza and Albert Mainsa from Luapula Province.
Journalism thrives on investigations.
Mukoka used his traits as a journalist to access the documents which were not classified.
And in case the documents were classified, FAZ should have found means of dealing with the leakages.
Hunting down journalists who are not answerable to the local soccer governing body is not the best way to deal with such matters.
In case Mukoka was really at fault, why not report him to the Media Ethics Council for his case to be determined?
It might have taken weeks or months but the media ethics body was going to guide or deal with the matter to the satisfaction of both parties.
Suspending journalists has never been heard of.
Of course, in the previous regime, there were journalists who were blackmailed.
Even the affected journalists only learnt about it because they were denied accreditation for games.
With the coming of Andrew Kamanga as FAZ president, all journalists looked forward to enjoying a mutual relationship with FAZ where no media practitioner would be blackmailed.
But the conduct of the ethics committee is seemingly perpetuating the blackmail of journalists.
Truthfully speaking, the ethics committee should review some of its decisions because they are putting the game into disrepute.
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Kamanga, Kalusha CAF race
Meanwhile, I wish to add my voice to the issue regarding the Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee position which Kamanga and Kalusha Bwalya are eyeing.
The nation is torn depending on which side one is sitting.
Citizens may wish to be reminded that this is history repeating itself.
When Teddy Mulonga was FAZ president and Kalusha vice-president, the latter contested the presidency of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) which his boss was eyeing.
It put the country in an awkward situation as the southern region watched in awe.
Mulonga withdrew and Kalusha lost to Suketu Patel in 2006 in Botswana.
Kalusha has been in CAF for eight years and wants to continue, but to do so, he needs the endorsement of Kamanga, who has already filed his nomination.
Kamanga and Kalusha should meet and agree on who should contest the elections.
I know the relationship between the two is sour, but for the sake of the country they should put their egos aside and do the correct thing.
Zambia needs representation in the CAF executive committee either through Kamanga or Kalusha.
If both contest, they will split votes and in the end Zambia will be the biggest loser.
Enjoy the beautiful game and catch me on phiristeve4@gmail.com, sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm

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