POST managing editor Amos Malupenga yesterday assured the United Party for National Development (UPND) and other political parties that the newspaper will continue according them equal coverage.
Malupenga was reacting to some UPND sympathisers that phoned Monze’s SKY FM radio programme dubbed Sky Forum, complaining that he and The Post would be blamed if the UPND-PF pact failed in 2011 because the newspaper was deliberately favouring the PF in its coverage of the pact.
The UPND sympathisers questioned The Post for not covering UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s recent trip to Western Province while the newspaper usually assigns reporters and photojournalists to accompany PF leader Michael Sata on similar trips outside Lusaka.
But Malupenga said it was the policy of The Post to give equal coverage not only to political players but all stakeholders who have newsworthy items to share with the public.
“Before these UPND sympathisers proceed to heap allegations of bias on our part, it will be prudent for them to first gather the facts. It’s not true that we give more and favourable coverage to PF and Mr Michael Sata than UPND and Mr Hichilema,” Malupenga said. “Maybe what UPND needs to do, since they are in a pact with PF, is to learn from PF and Mr Sata how they manage to get the kind of coverage they do in The Post.”
Malupenga said it was not possible for Post editorial managers to assign reporters to cover the UPND if they were not informed about those events.
“If we don’t know about any assignment involving Mr Hichilema and the UPND, surely we are not expected to cover such events because we can only go to events we have been informed about,” Malupenga said. “Talking about the specific incident, Mr Hichilema phoned me yesterday Sunday informing me that he had a successful tour of Western Province and his team has some material on that tour and he was wondering how we could utilise the material.
This confirms that in the first place we were not aware about Mr Hichilema’s tour of Western Province. The ideal thing for UPND or Mr Hichilema to do is to inform us beforehand about their activities so we can plan ahead of time to give them coverage. This is what PF and Mr Sata do. They always inform us about their programmes well in advance so it is difficult to miss their activities.”
Malupenga said the newspaper would best cover such events on the ground and not from materials presented to it after tours by politicians.
“So before these UPND sympathisers continue to accuse us of all sorts of things, they should consult their party’s publicity wing and they will discover that it’s their party to blame for lack of coverage of Mr Hichilema’s trip to Western Province,” Malupenga said. “Anyway, we are not surprised at these UPND allegations against us because we know that all politicians, like the Bemba adage says, nibamutasha kali kwisaya. This means that one is only able to appreciate the goodness of a delicious meal when the food is in his mouth. The moment he swallows the food, he forgets all the goodness so much that he can even insult the cook.”
Malupenga recalled that just after the recently held Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election, the UPND and PF commended The Post for its good coverage during campaigns.
“But today the UPND is accusing us of giving more prominence to PF and sidelining them. Anyway, we are used to such kind of accusations because all politicians, without exception, nibamutasha kali kwisaya,” said Malupenga.
From the Post