The Law Association President recently called on the State owned, but MMD controlled, ZNBC to come to grips with its legal obligation regarding political coverage:
“LAZ is of the view that the manner in which ZNBC is airing news and current affairs is in conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act chapter 154 of the Laws of Zambia (the ZNBC Act) whose provisions are supposed to regulate the way ZNBC operates. The situation is compounded by the fact that ZNBC currently has no board of directors and continues to operate without a board of directors, contrary to the law....The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has observed with growing concern that the news and coverage of national affairs by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation is unbalanced and mostly skewed towards coverage of opinions and activities of the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) to the exclusions of other stakeholders whose opinions are not given the requisite coverage. In addition, LAZ has also observed that ZNBC has aired libel and slander in its news and current affairs without respect for the right of persons who are the subject of the publication to respond..."
There’s little chance of this being taken seriously by ZNBC, let alone the other two members of this corrupted triplet (Daily Mail and Times of Zambia). Why? The simple truth is that they can’t. They are hostages of incentives, and those incentives point them to Rupiah Banda and MMD.
Basically, it is difficult for Times of Zambia or Daily Mail to write anything positive about the Patriotic Front not because they hate the Patriotic Front, but it is simply not in their interest for Patrotic Front to win. It is beyond doubt that if PF where to win these elections they have no choice but to fire a large part of the management. At best they would have to sell the papers because these are already failing parastatals (ZNBC would most certainly remain in government hands).
So we find ourselves in a bizarre situation, in which the more PF is liked by the public, the more anti-PF the public media must become! This is most strange because the public are the shareholders of the public media. They own ZNBC, Daily Mail and Times of Zambia. You would never guess this reading the editorials! What we have therefore are media organisations now against its own people - its owners. Its a mutiny! This situation is unlikely to change unless there was a fundamental realignment in our political system which moved us to a more pro-people equilibrium.
In the meantime a clear message should continue to be sent to the three organisations that they are not regarded as legitimate sources of news. In that sense the PF decision to bar them from the conference as “uncredited” is welcome because further legitimising them as “journalists” would be a mistake when they do not aspire to basic ethics. These men and women are not journalists in a meaningful sense of the word. They are just party cadres who have stumbled on a pay job. Now they find themselves quaking in their boots at the prospect of a new government. They have committed such evil against our people now their corrupt intoxication is about to find them out. For this they fear any change and have no choice but to continue drinking from Rupiah's well of plunder. Hold on to your hats, they are about to get worse..