Editor's Comment

Who are you pleasing?

WHEN United States President Donald Trump started talking about fake news, it appeared so remote.
Well, fake news has caught up with Zambia.
While most of the fake news by social media has been targeted at Government officials, it has also been directed at Zambia as a country.
This fake news is well calculated to malign Government and the country.
First, social media was awash with reports that the country’s debt was unsustainable. The reports were designed to paint a picture that the country’s leadership was reckless.
Yet the purveyors of the debt fake news deliberately refused to acknowledge that the debt has helped to transform the country through infrastructure projects such as roads and power generation among others.
In the aftermath of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit at which Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a US$60 billion in new financing for Africa, some Western countries described it as a debt trap for developing countries.
China was not only unjustifiably accused of debt trap diplomacy but being the new neo-coloniser of the African continent.
In the eyes of some Western countries, China had offered loans that will be impossible to repay by African countries.
Yet, the same whistle blowers or sympathisers did not offer alternatives.
Fake news was perpetrated about Zambia mortgaging ZESCO in exchange for the loans it had allegedly failed to pay.
On Prince Harry’s solo two-day trip to Zambia, fake news had it that his wife, Meghan, decided to stay behind because of fears of the Zika virus.
A United Kingdom tabloid, The Sun, published an article insinuating that the Duchess of Sussex pulled out of a visit to Zambia due to Zika concerns.
The article was also reported by the Mail Online under the headline: ‘Exhausted Meghan pulled out of royal trip with Harry to Zambia amid fear over Zika virus’.
We are glad that British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet has set the record straight by stating that there are no Zika concerns in Zambia.
Mr Cochrane-Dyet said in his latest tweet that there is no Zika virus in Zambia and the misinformation is irresponsible.
It is clear that the unfounded insinuations by a section of the British media has the potential to harm the country’s tourism sector.
Such fake news should not be entertained because the significant efforts being made to get the country out of its economic challenges could be adversely affected.
Tourism is one of the sectors of the economy targeted for promotion as the country diversifies its economy away from the reliance on copper.
The tourism sector supports the much needed jobs for Zambians and ensures protection of wildlife.
We applaud efforts by Mr Cochrane-Dyet who supported Zambia’s position on the Zika virus by linking his tweet to the statement issued by the Zambian embassy in London dismissing the report.
The country should be on guard for fake news.
Strangely, there are some Zambians who seem, or definitely, delight in Zambia being unjustifiably painted black.
Zambians have their differences, some of them deep, but they should have a common position in deflecting falsehoods purveyed against their country. This is especially so if such lies are by foreigners who do really care about the country.
Zambians must, therefore, think through their comments or utterances before making them. For whose good are you spreading lies? If it is not for the greater good of Zambia, then keep your thoughts to yourself.

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