Govt to meet media reps over regulation

Government says it is studying the paper submitted by Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) on the ongoing media reforms process in the country.

Government spokesperson, Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha said PAZA submitted the position paper regarding the ongoing process on media reforms adding that government will soon meet with the association to see how best their proposals can be applied locally.

General Shikapwasha has meanwhile expressed disappointment with the Media liaison Committee led by Henry Kabwe for taking a confrontational stance on the debate on media reforms.

Lt. Gen Shikapwasha said in a statement in Lusaka Tuesday that government remains committed to the basic tenets of freedom of expression for its citizens.

He said government is accountable to its citizenry adding that the media draft bill under his Ministry will only be released to stakeholders if the media fails to come up with a self regulatory mechanism.

He has meanwhile said government has been saddened by the Media Liaison Committee whom he said have decided to take a confrontational stance on the matter.

Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha said contents from the press conference by the committee led by Mr. Kabwe recently lacks the spirit of dialogue and is a contradiction of the subject.

He said Mr. Kabwe created an impression that the committee is biting and exhibits political vigilantism which seeks to settle political scores with individual and institution based on innuendos, unsubstantiated and baseless observations.

Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha said there is no logic for Mr. Kabwe to agitate for demonstrations and legal challenges on the draft media bill since its still in draft form and eligible for input from the public and media practitioners.

He said this is more disappointing especially that PAZA has reaffirmed its commitment to a mature debate and dialogue on the media reforms.

Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha has however stated that government and his ministry in particular is ready to educate Mr. Kabwe on procedures for initiating legislation and the consultative process that involve the parliamentary committee.

He further called on Mr. Kabwe to ensure that he is also accountable to principles such as those contained in the Windhoek Declaration that calls upon media bodies to be accountable in terms of funds received from donor countries.

ZANIS

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