Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Ambassador on Access to Information Rev Suzanne Matale says the success of the forth-coming August, 11 general-elections depends on the Zambian media.
Rev Matale who is also Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) General Secretary said this is because the media has a responsibility to provide accurate, factual and balanced information to assist the citizens in making informed decisions in the forth-coming elections.
“media coverage in elections is one of the yard sticks used to measure the extent to which an election was free and fair but it is also important to note whether the media itself has lived up to people’s expectation of being informed and educated in a balanced way,” she said.
She was speaking at the launch of the of the 2nd Media Monitoring report by MISA and the Media Liason Committee, Rev Matale urge the media to focus on issues related to health, education, agriculture, housing, water and sanitation , which are important issues that people want to hear as contained in party manifestos.
And Rev Matale bemoaned the unfair coverage of political parties by the public media as indicated in the released report adding that this poses a challenge to all Media in Zambia and puts the electorate in a difficult situation as the reported issues do not help in ensuring that people’s decisions are well informed.
According to the report, election campaigns, election related violence and electoral process issues are the as the most covered key topics during this election campaign period, while infrastructure, and labour issues (workers’ rights, job creation) which have been listed in all political parties’ manifestos however received little coverage in the media.
The report further states that the media pays less attention on what the political party candidates contesting various positions who are promising Zambians, hence there is more likelihood that at this crucial moment of decision making, average Zambians are not well guided by the media which political party will provide them with the best option of achieving and implementing the revised sixth National Development Plan, it reads.