DAILY Nation proprietor Richard Sakala has asked State House to direct advertising business from ministries and parastatals to his newspaper.
In his letter to President Edgar Lungu’s principal private secretary Francis Chalabesa, Sakala wants the government to enter into a “mutually beneficial” relationship with him, where his newspaper would report ‘objectively’ on government policy in exchange for advertising support.
“We are writing to seek your kind assistance in enabling us establish a working relationship with your ministry, and statutory bodies under your charge,” Sakala told Chalabesa in his letter dated June 15.
“At the same time, as a newspaper with nationwide coverage, we seek advertising support that will enable us grow this partnership and we are confident that with your guidance, we can reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
He stated that the Daily Nation was eager to immediately start reporting “fair and balanced stories” for the government.
“As a national paper with a dedicated readership, we are anxious to report objectively on government ministries and departments, in order to present fair and balanced stories,” stated Sakala, adding that he would give the government 30 days credit for any advertising or other services rendered.
But a Daily Nation source complained about the newspaper’s association with State House.
“There’s too much hypocrisy going on. We have totally become part of State House. And the dependency of our newspaper on State House is increasing by the day. There is no professionalism at all; it is just a matter of financial survival for us. This letter will help show the Zambian people how far we have gone to bed with State House. There is a lot happening and we have just kept quiet for fear of losing our jobs,” the Daily Nation source revealed.
Sakala served as State House press aide under Frederick Chiluba’s administration, but was arrested and charged with abuse of office immediately after he left office.
He was later convicted and served three years, four months in jail, after which he established the Daily Nation newspaper in 2012.
Appearing on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview programme recently, Sakala told host Grevazio Zulu that he was an innocent man and that his sentence was politically motivated.
Sakala said he was working on a book that would highlight the injustices that he has suffered in life, including his experience in prison.