Government won’t regulate media coverage of State House – Minister

Fackson Shamenda

Fackson Shamenda

THE Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour says the government will not regulate coverage of State House by journalists.

Dismissing permanent secretary in charge of administration at Cabinet Office Anne Sinyangwe’s pronouncement that the government was contemplating allowing only the Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS) to cover State House assignments and later distribute information to other media houses, both information minister Fackson Shamenda and his permanent secretary, Amos Malupenga, said that was not official government position.

Speaking to journalists yesterday, Shamenda said Sinyangwe’s statement “did not hold any water”.

“There was a misunderstanding. Journalists are always welcome wherever there are functions, you are our good friends. The pronouncement by permanent secretary at Cabinet Office does not hold any water,” said Shamenda.

And in a separate interview, Malupenga said there would be no regulation of State House coverage.

Asked if what Sinyangwe said was the official government position, Malupenga said: “No, there’s no position like that. You take it that what I’ve told you is the official position, that there will be no regulation as to who covers State House…In fact, I spoke to the PS yesterday because some journalists approached me over the same. So she explained that the message she was communicating is that we need to bring some order in the way we are covering State House because it appears like we are congested; the photographers, the video cameramen, the journalists. So, we need to discuss and see how we can position ourselves so that we appear to be orderly. I was not there when you interacted, but when I went there to seek her clarification, that is the message she communicated.”

And the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chapter has commended the government for the clarification.

Chairperson Daniel Sikazwe said in a statement yesterday that government officials should respect media practitioners they interact with.

“The words attributed to Sinyangwe are unfortunate,” stated Sikazwe.

On Thursday, Sinyangwe told journalists at State House that the government would regulate coverage of functions there.

“It doesn’t look nice for us to be congested; let’s have perhaps a way of getting news or information from here through ZANIS so that we work…,” said Sinyagwe./POST ZAMBIA

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