Six months ultimatum not feasible -Journalists leader

The Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) has said the six month ultimatum issued by government for the media to come up with a self-regulatory mechanism is not feasible and not the best way to dialogue.

PAZA President Andrew Sakala says the deadline which has been set for December 31 2009 is not feasible especially when dealing with important issues like self regulation of the media.

Mr. Sakala said this at a press briefing in Lusaka today.

He said PAZA is developing a comprehensive awareness campaign on self regulation to help all sections of Zambian society, Journalists, Politicians and the general public to better understand the issue.

He stressed that self regulation is about building confidence in the code that the public and the practitioners themselves will respect.

Mr. Sakala disclosed that PAZA and other partners in the media intend to create a website which will be specifically dedicate to a detail discourse on media regulation between now and when the current media council is strengthened.

He explained that the association believes that self regulation will enhance good governance through objective, accurate and balanced news coverage.

Mr. Sakala said government regulation cannot make the press more professional adding that imposing standards through government regulation limits legitimate freedoms and free flow of information.

He appealed to government to listen to media organizations that are experts in the field to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

Meanwhile, PAZA Vice president  Amos Chanda said media bodies had fruitful consultations in South Africa and Kenya on media regulation mechanism.

Mr. Chanda disclosed that the media bodies were advised that they should follow the media self regulation adding that government is not an experts in the issue.

He said the media bodies would be going to Botswana and Tanzania to consult on media regulation mechanism.

ZANIS

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