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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Poor Journalism (Daily Mail), 3rd Edition

The infamous Bank of Zambia (Amendment) Act 2013 was given presidential ascent last week. The hapless Daily Mail declared:
“...In a key move aimed at halting illegal capital flight, President Sata has assented to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Bill which gives powers to the central bank to monitor transactions of investors locally and abroad…”
Illegal capital flight?? Who writes this stuff? Is that what the Act is designed to do? The media is not helping the government explain the new legislation. May be the Daily Mail actually needs to start hiring the right people.

Many newspapers around the world no longer employ people with only a course in “journalism”. I really don’t think a diploma or degree in journalism makes one a journalist. In fact a degree in journalism is meaningless in the modern world. Most good journalists around the world studied something else e.g. politics, sociology, psychology, history economics.

As for the BOZ Act confusion will continue because even those who are meant to know like Deputy Finance Minister Sampa seems to give clouded messages, if the Daily Mail is to be believed : "Investors should always inform the central bank each time they want to externalise profits and give genuine reasons for doing so”.  Clearly that  is very confusing and not practical! The word “investors” is meaningless – does he mean foreign businesses? And each time? No additional explanation is provided.

One suspects the shabby journalism may be responsible in misquoting him. In any case they should have sought additional clarity. It is called responsible journalism. You can't just quote without seeking further clarification. One wonders just how helpful it is to government to keep these newspapers. They are counter-productive in every possible direction because the papers have no quality at all. We need independent papers that are capable of increasing the level of rigour and general standard of reporting. The Daily Mail and Times of Zambia do not fit that description. It is time to take off this problem from the government by selling these papers. But who will buy them? 

Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013

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