LettersLocal News

A WORD OF CAUTION TO POLITICAL PARTY MEDIA TEAMS

Dear editor,                 

EVERY trained and qualified media personnel, be it a Journalist or Public Relations practitioner knows the impact certain Articles might have on the audience (readers, listeners or indeed viewers) and some of it can be positive or negative depending on the message being communicated.

For those of you who might be on the same page with me, we all know the impact of what “careless” or “unconscious” reporting would have on our target audiences and therefore, we are guided by our professional ethics of always being cautious with what we write and how we report knowing that should we be careless in our reporting, we may end up starting a fire whose flames we might not manage to extinguish and thereby causing destruction.

However, as a person from the media industry, I must make mention that I am very concerned and worried with some of my colleagues who are working as media team members for political groupings ahead of this year’s crucial polls.

In one of my Articles about a month ago, I had indicated and advised political party leaderships to at least include qualified media personnel to manage their publicity and I did so because of my strong belief that a qualified media practitioner will be cautious as they do their job and I am happy that some of the political parties and individual candidates have included professionals in their Campaigns.

My concern is with those who have allowed non – qualified media practitioners to run their publicity especially on social media.

Unfortunately, even those qualified for the job appear to be compromised and I can only conclude that this is under instructions of their bosses.

The worst part is that we have taken pride in writing single – sourced and one sided stories and thereby cheating the masses.

Luckily for some of us we take single –  sourced stories to be FAKE!

 Dear colleagues, much as we might want to be seen to be doing our jobs in pleasing our paymasters, let us not forget that we have a duty as Journalists to ensure that the peace that we have continued to enjoy as a nation is maintained even when we are having an election. Let us not be used to divide but let us use our profession to build even as we might disagree on one or two things.

Politicians know how important Journalists are especially during this period and that is why they hire you to manage their publicity but please let us not “over do it”.

This propaganda we are doing will cause mayhem and we will have ourselves to blame.

We all want our bosses to win but let us not do this at the expense of disturbing the peace of our country because of one simple election.

Remember what President Edgar Lungu said about Journalism and Social media during his interaction with the media? Please reflect as you do your job. Let me not remind you of what caused the Genocide in Rwanda.

For my Journalists working for politicians, let us not forget about self-censorship, and for politicians who have allowed their cadres to carelessly write and post as they feel like without considering the serious repercussions such social media abuse can have, I humbly appeal to you to please tame your cadres if you do care for the people you want to serve and these are the innocent million Zambians who will have no place to run to should there be war in this country because of your negligence.

Have a blessed week!

Francis Chipalo.

The author is a Lusaka-based Journalist and Freelance Public Relations practitioner

For comments and contributions, Call, SMS or WhatsApp the author on 0977203043

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