Irresponsible media is destructive, UN envoy tells Zambian journalists

Grynspan who is currently visiting Zambia made the comments ahead of world press day which is celebrated across the world on May 3.
She has further observed that Zambians today enjoy access to numerous channels of information, including newsprint, electronic media such as radio and television and web-based media such as the internet and mobile telephony, which has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. These developments have ushered in immense opportunities.
“I am pleased to be in Zambia on World Press Freedom Day. This is a day to acknowledge initiatives in pursuit of press freedom, to assess its state worldwide and to promote Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This article states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
This year’s world press freedom day is celebrated under the global theme “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers.” In Zambia it is celebrated under the theme “Ethical Reporting for a Free and Peaceful Electoral Process”.
Grynspan said the theme in Zambia is appropriately localized to reflect current issues of national interest. The UN supports freedom of the press everywhere – the freedom of opinion and expression.
“But freedom comes with responsibility. A responsibility to report and provide information based on facts and evidence in a fair, ethical and professional manner, in particular to the electorate in an election year, such as this one”, she said
The importance of information and power of the media is perhaps best acknowledged by the fact that just as much as an open and responsible media builds and creates,
The challenge is to harness this unique power for the mutual benefit of the people of Zambia so they can make a well informed vote.
She said that the United Nations is committed to support the development of the capacity of our partners in the media by strengthening professional journalism, enabling a more analytical, objective and accurate news reportage. By so doing, we shall not only be enhancing development journalism in this country, but additionally fostering deeper commitment by the various development actors to transparency and accountability.

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