During the period under review Bloggers of Zambia implemented a trainers of trainer workshop on safety, security, ethics and standards of journalism in Mansa district as one if the interventions on the police media relation project. The aim of the activity was to to re orient and train journalists on the standards and ethics of journalism and find ways of maintaining those ethics as they conduct their work for enhanced professionalism. A total of 22 Particpants attended the activity all drawn from Mansa district from both public and private media which include; Radio yangeni, Tuta FM, Prime Tv, KFM Radio, ZANIS, Daily Mail and Times of ZambiaÂ respectively. The workshop was held on 16th December,2019 at Mansa lodge.
2.0 OBJECTIVE OF THE WORKSHOP
The main objective of the workshop was toÂ train and capacity build local journalists in safety, security, ethics and standards of journalism for enhanced professionalism
3.0 PRESENTATIONS OF THE WORKSHOPS
Below are brief explanations of the deliberations during the workshop:
3.1 Security and Safety of Journalists
This session explored safety ways in which journalists can remain safe, secure and ethical when covering conducting their work, this conversationÂ was necessitated Â by the lack of adherearing to safety and security standards by journalist. Participants where given tips on how to stay safe as they conduct their work. The presentation also explored the long standing issues that compromise safety of journalism which include; lack of proper identification, the need to gather news in violent places, lack of protective clothing, sexual and physical harassment ,physical attacks by the community and police while gathering news
3.2 Standards and ethics of good conduct Journalism
The focus of this session was mainly to re-look at the ethics of good journalism with what is currently obtaining in luapula Â province and in his presentation Mr Mumbi noted that journalism as profession has come under ridicule due to the non adherence to the set standards of journalism which has led the profession to be disregarded by the members of the some of the challenges discussed as the reasons for the current situation Â included; Lack of proper trained personel, Lack of attractive salaries for employees, poor conditions of service, lack of objectivity in reporting news, political interference in operations of certain media houses. advancement of certain agendas to suit a group of people. Having stated the challangs journalists present then implored each other to adhere to ethics that they were trained for or loose their credibility.
3.3 Mapping Safety and Security Threats Offline and Online
This session aimed at getting practical experiences from Mansa district so as to appreciate the risks incurred by media in the Mansa. Particpants where divided into group and the following where the deliberations;
Online threats; Cyber bullying, privacy invasion, self exposure, jublication of information, online impersonation, surveillance and weak passwords. The following where some of the solutions identified to counter the threats identified; software updates, strong passwords, regular updates of software, advocate for the independent operation of the media etc.
Offline threats; Physical and sexual harassment, intimation from the police and cadres, damage of equipment, verbal abuse, freebiz, political violence, tribalism. Some of the solutions to these risks identifies where as follows; Surveying your area of work incase of any violent attacks, factual reporting, first aid box, protective clothing, jail people inciting violence against journalists, engage the police to protect journalist when covering news and the coming up of stiff punishment for perpetrators of sexual violence.
3.4 Digital Security Tips for journalists
This session gave participants tips on basic digital security focusing on the new trend of threats in digital world. It explored ways of how to stay safe while online this is because the evolving of technology new threats to digital security are increasing and media personal needed to be alert and keep breasted on how to be safe online. The session also focused on personal data protection using different methods which include end to end encryption, strong passwords, use of Virtual private networks, dark internet to mention but a few.
3.5 Media self regulation
The session brought to attention of participants on the proposed statutory Self Regulatory mechanism and how it is expected to enhance ethics and professionalism of journalists in Zambia. It came to the attention that most participant where not even aware of this process as not all media institutions could manage to participate in the process. It was good to note that the bill seeks for the media to be self regulated as opposed to being regulated by the government.this bill also seeks to reviseÂ the ZNBC and IBA act so as to ensure that all media institutions in Zambia are regulated by one body
4.0 KEY RESULTS OF THE ACTIVITY.
- Media houses in Mansa district had the opportunity to interact and share some of the challenges that have affected their professional conduct within the districts
- Media present committed themselves to forming a body that will govern their activities within the district and address some of the grievances that are incurred by journalists
- It was collectively agreed that the media engages the police leadership in the district to developÂ rapport as the project unfolds so as to to come up with strategies of how to deal with the conflict that exists between the police and media in the province
- Participants present committed themselves to engage the leadership in the various media institutions to see how best the institutions can commit themselves to providing all the necessities that journalists require to conduct their work so as to avoid them being prone to vices like kick backs
- The officer in commanding for Mansa who was present indicated that efforts like these will assist in addressing the strained relationship between the media and police in the province
5.0 LESSONS LEARNT
- It was learnt that there is need to for continued training of the media in standards and ethics of journalism due to the high polarization of the media institutions due to political alignment
- Engage heads of media institution in ensuring that institution uphold the ethics of journalism in the running of these institutions
- There is need for more training on safety and security online as most participants displayed less knowledge and willingness to enhance their security online
- It was recommended Â that media institutions should begin to looks at diversification in resources mobilization so as to cution costs of running radio stationsÂ and media institutions
- It was recommended that next time media editors and owners should be present in training like these
- It was recommended that in the next meeting there is need to have participants from Zambia Police to answer some of the issues that where raised during the deliberations
- Not all participants invited made it to the meeting
- Not all issues raised during the workshop especially to the police could be answeredÂ hence the need to engage them during the next meeting.