And the Government says the problem of corruption in Zambia is being exaggerated.
Meanwhile, Government says Zambians are a peace loving people who detest violence and tribalism.
Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya said this at her office in Lusaka on Monday when Canadian High Commissioner to Zambia Pamela O’Donnell paid a courtesy call on her.
Siliya said fake news and cyber crimes are a serious global problem affecting both developing and developed countries.
“The problem is also a serious threat to the survival of the traditional media such as the newspapers, radio and television,” Siliya said.
She said what is worse is that the mainstream media is also abandoning its agenda setting role by over reliance on social media platforms as sources of news.
“I am always receiving phone calls from journalists to comment on issues they have seen on the social media instead of issues that they themselves have investigated. This is unfortunate as journalists are regarded as the most intelligent people who are supposed to be conveyors of authentic information to the public.” Siliya said.
She said government is, however, happy that journalists in Zambia have realised the need to separate themselves from “quacks” by coming up with a mechanism to regulate their professional conduct.
“One of the priorities for Government has been to galvanise support from the media on self statutory regulation and now the media understands that this is the right way to go to save the profession,” Siliya said.
On corruption, Siliya said government has made tremendous strides in the fight against the vice as evidenced by the creation of institutions such as the Anti- corruption commission, the Drug Enforcement Commission as well as the enactment of the ‘Whistle Blowers law, among others.
She said there is, however, a deliberate campaign by some people to create public distrust in the said institutions and the ongoing crusade against corruption, in general.
And the Minister said Zambians detest and reject violence and tribalism and it is futile for anyone to seek political office by riding on these vices.
“What has held us together is that we are naturally a peace loving people and Zambians reject anyone who tries to promote violence and tribalism,” said Siliya.
Earlier, the Canadian High Commissioner said her country shares Zambia’s position on many global challenges such as the threat of fake news on humanity, cyber crimes, a free and professional media, ending child marriages as well as gender-based violence.
High Commissioner O’Donnell, who is resident in Tanzania, said she met the Minister to familiarise herself with Zambia’s national media agenda following the global conference on media and democracy co-hosted by Canada and the United Kingdom in London in July this year which Siliya attended.
Ambassador O’ Donnell, who is also accredited to Tanzania, Seychelles and the Comoros, was accompanied by head of office – Counsellor and Consul, Megan Foster.