POLICE MEDIA RELATIONS DIALOGUE FORUM-EASTERN PROVINCE

POLICE AND MEDIA PARTICIPANTS IN CHIPATA

REPUBLIC OF ZAMBA

EASTERN PROVINCE PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

SPEECH BY

THE PROVINCIAL MINISTER HONOURABLE MAKEBI ZULU, MP

DURING

THE OPENING OF THE POLICE-MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM

 HELD AT

PROTEA HOTEL, CHIPATA

ON

24TH MARCH 2021

EASTERN PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION

CHIPATA

MARCH 2021

  • THE BOARD CHAIRPERSON- BLOGGERS OF ZAMBIA
  • THE EASTERN PROVINCE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
  • SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS 
  • CHIPATA PRESS CLUB PRESIDENT AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS
  • REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE CIVIL SOCIETY
  • LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

IT IS AN HONOUR TO ONCE AGAIN OFFICIATE AT THE OPENING OF THE POLICE AND MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM FOR EASTERN PROVINCE. I REMEMBER OFFICIATING AT THE FIRST EVER POLICE-MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM FOR EASTERN PROVINCE ON 15TH NOVEMBER, 2019.

THE POLICE-MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM WHICH IS CRUCIAL IN OUR QUEST TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT AND PROFESSIONAL MEDIA IN ZAMBIA.

IT IS REGRETTABLE TO NOTE THAT THE POLICE-MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM COULD NOT BE HELD IN THE YEAR 2020 BECAUSE OF THE OUTBREAK OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC, WHICH SAW THE BAN ON LARGE GATHERINGS AND FACE TO FACE MEETINGS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, AS PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION AND INDEED ON MY OWN BEHALF I AM ELATED AT THE RESUMPTION OF HOSTING THE POLICE-MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM, AS IT PROVIDES A PLATFORM FOR RESOLVING SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT JOURNALISTS FACE DURING THEIR WORK BY CREATING RAPPORT WITH THE POLICE WHO HAVE THE MANDATE TO MAINTAIN PEACE IN THE COUNTRY.

I UNDERSTAND THIS YEAR’S POLICE-MEDIA DIALOGUE FORUM IS PART OF A PROJECT CALLED, “STRENGTHENING POLICE AND MEDIA RELATIONS FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY OF JOURNALISTS DURING ELECTIONS IN ZAMBIA” BEING IMPLEMENTED WITH SUPPORT FROM THE FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE OF THE GERMANY GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE GERMANY EMBASSY IN ZAMBIA.

THE PROJECT AIMS TO ENHANCE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF JOURNALISTS AND IMPROVE POLICE-MEDIA RELATIONS TO PROTECT FREE EXPRESSION AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN ZAMBIA. IN ADDITION, THE PROJECT AIMS TO ENHANCE PROFESSIONALISM AMONG JOURNALISTS BY REMINDING THEM OF THEIR BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES DURING THEIR WORK AND ENSURE THAT JOURNALISTS TAKE SAFETY AND SECURITY PRECAUTIONS ALL THE TIME.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT DR. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU APPRECIATES THE SUPPORT RENDERED BY THE GERMANY GOVERNMENT, OUR COOPERATING PARTNER IN SUPPLEMENTING OUR EFFORT IN CREATING A CONDUCIVE GOVERNANCE ENVIRONMENT TO ENHANCE CITIZENS PARTICIPATION IN THE ZAMBIA’S GOVERNANCE. FOCUSING ON THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF JOURNALISTS DURING AN ELECTION YEAR AS IS THE CASE FOR ZAMBIA THIS YEAR IS COMMENDABLE BECAUSE IT ENSURES A REDUCTION IN VIOLATIONS OF MEDIA RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS AND SEES TO IT THAT JOURNALISTS ARE ABLE TO WORK FREELY AND PUBLISH ACCURATE ELECTORAL INFORMATION. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MAY I REMIND JOURNALISTS IN ZAMBIA AND EASTERN PROVINCE IN PARTICULAR THAT ETHICAL REPORTING IS IMPORTANT NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION THAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING WHERE THE POWER OF INFORMATION SHARING IS ALSO IN THE HANDS OF CITIZENS ON THE INTERNET. THIS HAS NOT ONLY PUT PRESSURE ON JOURNALISM BUT IT HAS ALSO WORSENED THE SPREAD OF MISINFORMATION AND UNVERIFIED CONTENT ON VARIOUS ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES, SUCH AS COVID-19 DATA IN ZAMBIA.

WITH THIS, I WANT TO URGE JOURNALISTS TO TAKE ISSUES OF DIGITAL ACCESS SERIOUSLY AND ENSURE THEY TAKE UP THEIR SPACE ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHERE CITIZENS CAN BROWSE AND ACCESS FACT-CHECKED AND VERIFIED INFORMATION.

 LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I HAVE BEEN RELIABLY INFORMED THAT TWO MAJOR ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN PLANNED FOR THIS YEAR THROUGH THE PROJECT:

  • 10 JOINT PROVINCIAL DIALOGUE FORUMS THROUGH THE RESPECTIVE PRESS CLUBS AND OTHER MEDIA ASSOCIATIONS IN ALL THE PROVINCIAL CENTRES IN ZAMBIA; AND
  • FOUR PRACTICAL TRAININGS IN SAFETY AND SECURITY OF JOURNALISTS COVERING EVENTS SUCH AS ELECTIONS, VIPS, VIOLENT PROTESTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS AMONG OTHERS, THE FIRST OF ITS KIND FOR JOURNALISTS IN ZAMBIA.

OUR EXPECTATIONS ARE THAT THROUGH THESE INTERVENTIONS, THE WORKING RELATIONS BETWEEN THE POLICE AND THE MEDIA WILL IMPROVE, THE SAFETY AND SECURITY STANDARDS OF JOURNALISTS WILL INCREASE AND THE MEDIA WILL HAVE IMPROVED STANDARDS AND ETHICS OF GOOD JOURNALISM CONDUCT. 

FURTHER, WE EXPECT THAT WITH INCREASED SAFETY AND SECURITY STANDARDS OF JOURNALISTS, PROFESSIONALISM WILL INCREASE, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION WILL BE ENHANCED TO STRENGTHEN OUR DEMOCRACY IN ZAMBIA.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE POLICE AND JOURNALISTS HAVE TO IDENTIFY CHALLENGES THAT AFFECT THEIR WORK AND ALSO COME UP WITH SOLUTIONS TO RESOLVE THEM. THUS THE HOSTING OF THIS EVENT AS A STARTING POINT FOR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND BETTER WORKING RELATIONS CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASIZED.

IN ADDITION, THROUGH SUCH SPACES FOR DIALOGUE, TOPICS SUCH AS THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA, THE NEED FOR JOURNALISTS’ SAFETY AND RESPECTING JOURNALISTIC WORK, AND THE ROLE OF THE POLICE IN ENSURING LAW AND ORDER CAN BE DISCUSSED TO PROMOTE MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF EACH OTHER’S ROLES,  RESPONSIBILITIES AND LIMITATIONS.  IN THIS REGARD, THERE IS NEED FOR CONCERTED EFFORTS IN DEVELOPING BEST PRACTICES REGARDING INTERVENTIONS FOR PROTECTING AND PROMOTING THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN STRENGTHENING DEMOCRATIC STRUCTURES DURING ELECTION PERIODS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I THEREFORE, IMPLORE THE CHIPATA PRESS CLUB AND BLOGGERS OF ZAMBIA TO CONTINUE BUILDING ON SUCH INITIATIVES BECAUSE THEY PROMOTE HARMONY AND UNITY AMONG STAKEHOLDERS IN OUR SOCIETY.

I COMMEND THE ZAMBIA POLICE SERVICE FOR PARTNERING WITH THE MEDIA ON THIS INITIATIVE IN THE QUEST TO RESOLVE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN THE COURSE OF FULFILLING YOUR RESPECTIVE CORE MANDATES.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOTH THE MEDIA AND THE POLICE ARE ESSENTIAL FOR PEACE BUILDING AND ENSURING SECURITY IN OUR DEMOCRACY. I THEREFORE APPEAL TO THE MEDIA TO FOCUS ON PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT EVEN AS YOU CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR PRESS FREEDOM. THIS IS BECAUSE PRESS FREEDOM MAY BE MEANINGLESS IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE MEDIA ABANDONS ETHICS AND GOOD STANDARDS.

IT IS ALSO MY HOPE THAT YOU WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS PLATFORM TO ALSO DISCUSS THE MEDIA REGULATION IN ZAMBIA ESPECIALLY THE PROPOSED STATUTORY SELF-REGULATION MECHANISM, THE ZAMBIA MEDIA ETHICS COUNCIL. MEDIA REGULATION WILL ENHANCE SAFETY, SECURITY AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN THE MEDIA SECTOR.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IN CONCLUSION, I WOULD LIKE TO COMMEND THE BLOGGERS OF ZAMBIA AND CHIPATA PRESS CLUB AND ZAMBIA POLICE SERVICE FOR ORGANISING THIS DIALOGUE FORUM. THIS INITIATIVE AND INNOVATION MUST BE SUPPORTED AS IT WILL GO A LONG IN CREATING A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDIA WORK IN EASTERN PROVINCE.

I WISH YOU ALL FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS DURING THE THIS WORKSHOP

GOD BLESS YOU.

I THANK YOU.

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