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JOURNALISTS must address the social protection issues affecting the public, says the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

MISA Country Director, Austin Kayanda said the knowledge levels on social protection within the media is scanty and this has the ability to compromise reporting on the subject.

He was speaking during the launch of the Media training workshop at Chaminuka Lodge in Chongwe yesterday.

Mr. Kayanda said the media is key to enhancing social protection programmes and service delivery in Zambia.

He said media is key to providing analysis and setting the watchdog agenda setting roles through its educative, informative or entertaining content.

Mr Kayanda said there is need for journalists to hold service providers accountable and make them responsive to the needs of citizens and beneficiaries.

He noted that as the conveyor of citizens’ concerns and government programmes, the media is the channel through which citizens are able to hold the state accountable and responsive to their needs.

“It is through the media that citizens learn how government policies will affect them, and governments gain feedback on their policies and programs.

“Media systems act as the primary conduit between those who might want to influence policy and the policymakers. media in the process controls the scope of political discourse and regulates the flow of information,” Mr Kayanda said.

Meanwhile, Mr Kayanda has hailed the government through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for helping develop the manual on social protection in Zambia.

“I’m very glad therefore about the partnership between ILO, Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and Ministry of Labour. MISA Zambia is indebted and grateful for the partnership,” Kayanda said.

Over 10 journalists from both government and private institutions based in Lusaka are attending the three-day training workshop for Social Protection reporting in Zambia.

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