Allow me to open my discourse with a quote, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind” by Jim Morrison. To consolidate the above school of thought and for my audience to appreciate my perspective as regards the subject matter, allow me to give a backdrop.
During the early 20th century epoch, developing mass media technologies, such as radio and television stations, were credited with an almost irresistible power to mold an audience’s beliefs, cognition, and behaviours according to the communicators’ will. Therefore, the influence of mass media has an effect on many aspects of human life, which might include voting in a certain way, individual views and beliefs, or skewing a person’s knowledge of a specific topic due to being provided with selected information. Thus, it goes without saying that Media is The Fourth Estate or Fourth Power, for it indeed wields significant indirect social influence on people.
It’s a rule of the thumb that as the media applies itself to its mandate; to inform and entertain, it must do so with objectivity, magnanimity, honest and patriotic to national cause. This is so because the media shapes public perceptions on a variety of important issues, both through the information that is dispensed through them, and through the interpretations they place upon this information. On the other hand, the government has the responsibility to partner with the media by creating an enabling environment for the sector to thrive and also ensure that the media does not become the axis of evil in triggering nation social unrest, as was the case with Rwandan genocide.
In my own view, if this sector has to effectively support sustainable development and national security, we need captains of the industry whose disposition is not easily given to emotions under any circumstance. We need men and women who are calm and collected and who do not tend to get mad easily; individuals with calm temperament and indeed patriotic to their nation. Much as I understand that private media house’s underlining objective is maximization of profit. But when duty calls for a noble cause such as the call that was made by government to partner with media houses to disseminate periodic information to the nation on the deadly Covid19. This was the moment intuitive patriotism to one’s nation was supposed to set in.
Alas, on the material day, when the PS in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was engaging the media houses on the need to partner with government on Covid19,what was Mr. Shawa’s reaction? Was he objective, magnanimous and patriotic? Nay! emotional outburst. Indeed, his temperament and character disposition is not only a threat to Prime TV business interests, more so to national security. I say so because media being the Forth Estate, it is unthinkable that Mr. Shawa is at the summit of power of Prime TV, a private media house, with reasonable viewership. I suppose the newsroom has a hard time to ensure that the news items or indeed programs are skewed to his liking or his master’s biddings.
It is a frightening thought considering that next year we are having general elections. In Rwanda, it was emotional characters of privately owned radio stations such as Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines, who triggered the Rwandan genocide.
What we do not need right now is an ill-tempered person to preside over a private media house which has a reasonable viewership countrywide. Mr. Shawa is a weak link not only to Prime TV business interests, but to national security even as we approach the 2021 general elections. Prime TV shareholders must make strategic resolves as it relates to Prime TV business interests and government must continue to foster media related measures and resolutions that will guarantee national security as we approach 2021 general elections.
Someone might be asking, wait a minute, you are nailing the brother, you don’t kick a man when he is down, besides the man apologised. Yes indeed the man apologised, for it is said “to error is human to forgive is divine”. However, the forgiveness part I will leave it to the relevant office, which is handling the matter. But even after apologising, it is not like his ill tampered temperament or disposition has vaporised overnight. The legitimate issue of his temperament I have raised, even after apologising, still remains a national security threat as we approach 2021 general elections.
Above all, let me categorically state that, I am not crucifying the brother, but rather letting him know that he owes the nation a duty and responsibility. His trending reaction could have been in a boardroom meeting but if his temperament is not restrained and the same disposition exhibited on TV by himself or his master, on sensitive election matters during 2021 general elections, then boom! Social unrest. I hope lessons have been learnt. For it is said “Wisdom comes from making mistakes, having the courage to face them, and make adjustments moving forward based upon the knowledge acquired through those experiences.” ― Ken Poirot.
Lastly, allow me to say that, we have got only one Zambia, in which we are all interdependent, interconnected, have a shared community and future, we must endeavour to be patriotic to our country by acting responsibly for the betterment of mother Zambia.
“The struggle continues; victory is certain”.
About The Author: Hon. Sensio Banda is the Member of Parliament for Kasenengwa Constituency in Eastern Province.
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