Govt says drafting law to control internet, online media

INFORMATION and broadcasting minister Joseph Katema says Zambians will no longer take seriously media institutions that thrive on gossip, according to the PF aligned Post newspaper.
And information permanent secretary Bert Musahala says the media policy that the government is drafting will address Internet abuse and cyber crime.
Responding to questions after he toured ZNBC Kitwe studios yesterday, Dr Katema said the Zambian people in some areas were being starved of credible information because certain online media and other publications spent their time insulting and spreading falsehoods at the expense of accurate, factual and developmental issues.
“It’s the intention of the PF government to broaden the information base to reach out to the public. Government is cognisant of the information gap, that is why we are putting policies in place that support media growth. You see a lot of Christian radio stations and private stations coming up now than ever,” he said. “But the onus is on you, because the people of Zambia will no longer take gossip seriously, people are starved of information but if all you do is sit on the computer, start chatting and gossiping…that is if people of the Copperbelt are very happy with Radio Icengelo, they even take whatever they say as gospel truth, it’s because of the confidence they have shown to the people with what they feed the listeners.”
Dr Katema also said ZNBC was ready for digital migration as could be evidenced from the purchase of new cameras and transmitters that would soon be mounted.
He disclosed that government had set aside K21 million in the 2014 budget for the construction of two provincial television stations in Choma and Solwezi which were expected to be operational next year.
“There is too much workload on the workers at ZNBC and we want to ease their operations with the opening of provincial stations and the board is also looking into the shortage of cameras with a view to procure more,” said Dr Katema who also indicated that the Times of Zambia board was addressing the issue of delayed salaries to its employees, saying the government was merely a shareholder in the institution and was not involved in its day-to-day operations.
And Mushala said media organisations and personnel would be involved in the formulation of the media policy to address cyber crime and related abuses.
“There is a questionnaire that is being distributed, you will all be given to fill in before you are invited for the big indaba. We really have to address this situation,” said Mushala.

Share this post