Opinion

Something Isn’t Right in Our Media, BUT…

So much has been said about the Independent Broadcasting Authority’s decision to suspend Prime TV’s broadcast licence for 30 days.

According to the IBA, the decision to suspend the private broadcaster’s licence is because of its “unprofessional broadcasting”. The IBA further went on to instruct Prime TV to conduct in-house trainings in basic journalism and script writing.

This broadcast licence suspension has reminded us of the many wrongs going on in today’s media. However, what our colleagues at Prime TV must learn from this scenario is the fact that the media can make or break, it can set a country ablaze through careless reporting.

In any setup, the media must be allowed to conduct its duties without any fear but media freedom should not be a cover for media abuse. Let’s remember that the bigger responsibility lies in the media itself, and in this case Prime TV, to ensure that the basics of journalism are followed and they must bear the biggest blame. Veering away from this will always attract sanctions, either from regulators or the consumers of news themselves. Prime TV and all others in the media mustn’t forget the happenings of the recent past in Rwanda where genocide was fanned by the media. And also take a look at what was coming out of Zimbabwe a few months ago! Online media was littered with claims of killings with accompanying pictures. But some of those pictures weren’t a true reflection of what was happening in Zimbabwe!

One thing that many of the people will agree with is the fact that today’s journalism has been infiltrated by all sorts of rogues. What is even more worrying is the fact that those who have been practicing journalism for a very long time have relegated the profession to mere caderism and the institutions they run are being used as channels upon which they can push their political agendas. This is a fact! Many of you know what we are talking about.

In Zambia today, we have media institutions that have newsrooms run by officials of political formations. In such scenarios, forget about credibility!

In Zambia today, we have journalists who, without shame, publicly declare their political preferences on social media platforms like Facebook. What happened to neutrality?

In Zambia today, we have journalists who will demand payment even for things like giving interviews to civil society organisations on the state of the media in the country!

What our journalists must get back to are the common elements of good journalism such as the obligation to tell the truth (how many are ready to do this?); loyalty to citizens (how often is this done); discipline of verification (do we always verify what we see flying around on social media); serving as an independent monitor of power (how dedicated are we to this?); providing a forum for public criticism and compromise (do we allow others to criticize our work, pointing out where we have gone or done wrong?); striving to keep the significant interesting and relevant (how relevant is what we churn out to our readers, listeners and viewers); keeping the news comprehensive and proportional (do we take time to go deeper into a story to tell it all?) and the exercise of personal conscience (do we ever put to use personal judgment on what does or doesn’t qualify as a news story?). This simple guideline will help save the profession. What must happen is constant training and retraining of journalists and editors on the basics of the journalism profession.

This way, suspensions of licences can be avoided.

Regulators do, and can, suspend media licenses when the institutions fail to meet requirements. It has happened before in the UK when the Sun Newpaper was suspended for similar reasons.

42 Comments

  1. Briven

    But why don’t you evoke znbc’s license when their reporting is even more worse, reading between the lines, I accuse you suspending prime TV’s broadcasting rights because they are bringing out things that you with your znbc are trying to hide from the people of Zambia. You let znbc operate because they simply give us the good side of the govt and some crazy adverts with very poor images and coverage… shame, great shame.

    Reply
    • The Man

      Znbc doesn’t write alarming headlines

      Reply
    • Albert

      ZNBC does not lie. Don’t compare apples with oranges

      Reply
    • Kadansa

      The IBA does not seem like it is a professional organization. Anyone who understands administration and the journalism profession can’t come up with such a crazy ruling
      Can you train journalists in one month sure ? Who can come out of a four week training with reporting skills and as is being demanded of Prime TV ethics of journalism? You need at least six months. Otherwise the ruling is just a joke. It was the PF flexing it’s muscles to remind everyone that it once shut up Fred Mmembe

      Reply
      • Verily verily I say to you

        Very true does the IBA realistically expect journalists to be trained in one month? Ati kupusa!

        Reply
  2. Whiteson

    Briven, if znbc was hiding that police and pf were trying to assassinate hh then it’s ok because znbc was hiding a lie from the public

    Reply
  3. Hypocrisy

    Are you realy sure the one who said this words can craim him/herself to be a none partisan politican? Definitely no,why you ordinary people of Zambia want to be be distorting the right and truthful information?what information can we expect from znbc and their caderror information that only praises this corrupt government officials??please learn the truth and you be free settled because those checks and balances you are taking away from us poor Zambian people one day God will punish you!!

    Reply
  4. Mr. Bemba land is great

    Mr Shaw’s publicly admitted that their journalism is poor and that he wanted a faire punishment so you bcz eat from hakainde whom you save want this TV station continue dividing this peaceful. Zambia hakainde never fought for independence that’s why he doesn’t attend national holidays all what he want is bring political instability and go outside. Zambia denouncing gvt he has failed to divide the country through tribalism he will punished again in 2021

    Reply
    • CONFESSION OF THE OWNER

      The owner of Prime TV has confessed poor journalism at his station, So allow the regulator’s actions to Stand. Away with Truant & Rogue journalism.
      Try bars not television !

      Reply
    • Bl82

      You man you just support the pf if you belong to the pf it’s you and your family not, and you are the triblelist people like you we people from Barotseland we don’t like are the one who turn apart your country go and eat road there is a big one the ndola/lusaka road we don’t eat road’s.

      Reply
  5. FGM

    ZNBC has set a wrong precedence and Zambians believe its the only perfect way all media houses should go. ZNBC would have already learnt a lesson but we fund their unprofessional reporting. Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia have already learnt a lesson. And that is a testimony that should be shared. Prime tv suspension has deprived Zambians of their favorite programs. Prime tv is surely irreplaceable.

    Reply
  6. Youth movement

    I think the national broadcaster has also contributed to this Problem because if they’ve be fair in their coverage I don’t think the opposition would have gone to private media.I don’t want to be political coz am non partisan but in the best interest of the nation I suggest national broadcaster be left to report and cover fairly and professional,both the ruling and the opposition should be treated equally because it doesn’t belong to any party but belongs to the people for the people.

    Reply
    • Concerned citizen.

      I don’t think so… Tribalism and bosting contributed alot…

      Reply
  7. Ignorant

    The biggest problem the media is facing today is compromise, they would rather report fake or distorted news on the expense of making huge profits. This is the reason why politicians have taken an advantage of the vulnerability of the media to champion their selfish motives & this has also trickled down to the consumers of these news as each one of us are no longer interested in getting the truth but we are rather interested in hearing to what our ears are itching to hear.

    Reply
  8. Whiteson

    Youth movement, if by “equally” you mean 50 50 percent, then it’s practically impossible because even private media will cover bigger % saleable stories (to make money) and smaller % truth.

    Reply
  9. Fisunge

    Imwe. Don’t compare znbc with this tuntemba broadcasting Network from kanyama it’s a national broadcasting corporation even in your house you should know what you should tell your children and what you can’t maybe you have forgotten about Rwanda ask us who went to work in Rwanda what we went through I do support the IBA s decision those who doesn’t want to listen to znbc Shud just stay simple if you’re a prime TV fan sorry for you

    Reply
    • Biloko

      Poor governance caused the Rwanda genocide leading factor being tribalism by those in power.Mwila and his group are the only ones who must tell us what is news worth what a country even one party news was more critical than what a znbc gives,lies in the morning lunch and at night.Without state extortion I would not allow znbc to take even one ngwee of my hard earned money as TV levy.

      Reply
  10. FGM

    Sabc of South Africa balances its reporting and the ruling party respects the opposition. That is why the South African government protested when the DA opposition leader was harassed in Zambia. Soon we shall be learning from the toddler Democratic countries. To this day the ruling parties as rebels operating outside our constitution. Our leaders should respect the constitution to letter. If South Africans are observing theirs , what is it that makes fail to extent of the violence that experience during elections?

    Reply
  11. Moses kabali

    I was disappointed to see a picture of a political violence which happened some time in 2016 to be showed recently in sesheke.and u call that good coverage by prime TV.country men and women,some body can set entire country on fire

    Reply
  12. Concerned citizen.

    Zambia governed by set of laws. Let law take it’s course…

    Reply
  13. correct znbc is worse off

    Nothing factual from znbc apart from usual govt praises. Where on.earth is the ruling party always in.right ?

    Reply
  14. Corruption now will be worse

    It is dununa reverse have you forgotten ? It is only good when it is in their favour, when it is not then the opposition is bad. But the opposition is their by law and Zambia changed its constitution in 1991 for this. If this was not done this country could have been a one party state up to now! I salute men and women who formed the Movement for multi party democracy .People easily forget that it was an offence in Zambia to form a political party before 1991 to oppose UNIP but today even the people who brought the change nobody even talks about them. And people think it was so easy! Let us respect and cherish our democracy please Zambians. We have to disagree in order to agree on what is better for our country. But professionals must work proffessionally. If indeed Prime TV thinks it was unfairly treated by the suspension of their licence they can always appeal against the action.

    Reply
  15. Nimrod

    Mwanya ba HH, you will never bring war in this country through prime TV. God will always see you down in all elections. If you are not chosen you are not. It Will always be like Moses he was shown the land and was told ” you will never enter ” by God. He is funning fake assassination thinking that people will sympathy for him.

    Reply
    • HH

      Only my tribesmen who give me black magic will always vote for me. My witchdoctors like Mukuni made bees and lightening in sesheke. He sleeps at the graveyard I can confirm. Ndili muubauba mebo. 2021 I will say bandibeda ma vote. I won’t recognise ka mwana ka mulungu ka ecl because I’m a satanist.

      Reply
  16. Albert

    I read the letter from the owner where he admitted the unprofessional conduct and l wonder why people are condemning the right action taken by IBA. It was quite a cheeky letter though.

    Reply
  17. Ba swine

    The owner admits the wrong doing the hhs disagree…are u seek or something

    Reply
  18. Ba swine

    The owner admits the wrong doing the hhs disagree…are u sick or something

    Reply
  19. Dr Fonicks

    The action taken by the IBA is good but just a bit stern. yes, Prime Tv in most cases show the bad side of govt. I am not partisan but have been following the news on many private media. If not careful, the news on Prime Tv can bring irreparable damage to the nation. The 1994 Rwanda genocide was mostly as a result of biased reporting. one thing for sure that you will never capture on Prime Tv is anything good done by govt. well, we condemn the PF of being corrupt but there are things which they have done worth praising. Negative reporting on govt won’t take us anywhere. if possible practice constructive criticism. if there’s a problem offer a solution. Ba PF nangu bapupu tefyo balufyanya. Prime Tv is always pro opposition. balance your news coverage but not just supporting my brother HH. Prime Tv shouldn’t behave like a time bomb. coming to the IBA please be independent because it looks like you acted after being put in quagmire by PF SG. we shouldn’t turn this country into a totalitarian rule. abash with one party, dictatorial tendencies. be careful my brothers and sisters at the helm of the govt. do not start preparing your own grave. what is on the ground is not ok. President Lungu. please do not be cheated, things are not ok. belakubepa mwandi ECL. you are surrounded by wolves. Ine ndejwebako fye pantu your are my tribal cousin.

    Reply
  20. Nyengo

    Prime tv is lik virus has bin cured 4 zambian 2 avoid civical war. The media tactic of making its tv popular wil caused danger 2 our nation and we wil peace bcoz of careless journalism done by those promised jobs and press aids is causing alot of paniking media industry mainly in private media and rushing 2 make name. Freedom of speech and expression we hav in zambia must b used nicely 4 our next generation 2 come not destroy it by those working now. Mr kasolo position is good or right and need ZNBC Cover campaigns of political party bcoz is a public media bcoz private media take advantage of znbc absence 2 lie bcoz them are using iphones and laptops when reporting 2 the public. We need pipo lik MR KASOLO 2 b appointd has controling offices who not bend 2 pressure. In USA, president TRUMP Is busying fightin fake news in CNN is a victim and trump has 2 take interviews on CNN tv,why? He hates fake news frm private media

    Reply
  21. Sibweni

    In Zambia, we hav a problem bcoz we lik praise blindly and blame govt on clear issures. South africa had a private tv NN7 TV Channel 407 dstv i used 2 show it more SABC CH 404 But NN7 TV Is no more why poor and unproffessional journalism caused 2 b closed. Prime tv must operate within the law IBA not outside. We don’t read in advance 2 under things but react 2 misinformed news items 2 please those fightin govt. Spy 4 opposition parties in exchange is a dangerous path 2 success but hard work and honest journalism is key 2 every journalist in public and private media

    Reply
  22. Briven

    “My people will perish because of lack if knowledge”, unfortunately, to others it’s not lack of knowledge, but just ignorance, which has got no excuse. Zambian politics are just like a big joke, a few true voices can never be heard among many and louder lies.

    Reply
  23. Briven

    “My people will perish because of lack of knowledge”, unfortunately, to others it’s not lack of knowledge, but just ignorance, which has got no excuse. Zambian politics are just like a big joke, a few true voices can never be heard among many and louder lies.

    Reply
  24. Of course me

    Awe mwandi!! Ndeloleshafye

    Reply
  25. Mwembwamwe

    Katwishi mwandi

    Reply
  26. Analyticus

    Prime ne factual and uphold ethics. Period !!!

    Reply
  27. Analyticus

    Prime be factual and uphold ethics. Period !!!

    Reply
  28. Political analyst

    Zambia is now one part state no one as strong party to fight with. Is that a strong party? No sense private broadcast is more interesting than the znbcorrupt.why Lupiya Banda did not closed the broadcast and other previous ruling party but only pfool decided to close? This country is not for pf some of us we don’t like znbc news but so let every Zambian citizen enjoy the presence of freedom not like that. Pasopo!!!!!

    Reply
    • Chanda

      MR POLITICAL ANALYST YOU ARE A LIAR. HOW MANY TV STATIONS ARE STILL OPERATING IN ZAMBIA AND HAVE NOT BEEN CLOSED?……SO MANY

      Reply
  29. Chanda

    I THINK ZNBC DOES NOT LIE. IT TELLS THE TRUTH. THE ONLY PROBLEM THAT ZNBC HAS IS THAT IT DOES NOT COVER STORIES EXHAUSTIVELY. IT DOES NOT COVER OTHER DIFFERENT OPINIONS ON THE SAME SUBJECT. THIS IS WHERE PRIVATE TV STATIONS CAN COME IN TO COMPLEMENT AND DIG THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY TO MAKE THE PICTURE COMPLETE. BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THE PRIVATE TV STATIONS LIKE PRIME TV END UP EXAGGERATING SMALL STORIES, TELL LIES, MAKE OPINIONS ON THEIR OWN. SURELY HOW CAN HUNDREDS OF LIVE AMMUNITION FIRED BY TRAINED SHOOTERS MISS HH? AND YOU CLAIM THAT THEY WANTED TO ASSASSINATE HIM?

    Reply
  30. Town Mouse

    Mwanya, Prime Tv Wanu Is Not Working Because Pf Wanted It Closed For Good, Muletasha Iba Because He Did Not Steal But Lenience Worked. Zambia Be Careful Pantu Mukalwapo Naimwe. We Don’t Suport Ifyabupuba Ifwe, Prime Tv Please, Endure And Revive For The Better.

    Reply
  31. Space

    when is the so called prime tv openning am just missing the stoling movies they televase at night around 23h50m so.

    when are they going to open this channel.

    Reply

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