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HOLD GOVT ACCOUNTABLE, MEDIA URGED

By Jackson Mapapayi

A civic leader in Solwezi has asked the media to hold accountable the new dawn government.

Solwezi mayor Remmy Kalepa  was speaking to journalists during the media and Civil Society meet-up workshop on fact checking, debunking harmful content, misinformation and fake news organized by Bloggers of Zambia held in Solwezi.

He said  the media does not only play a critical role in the dissemination of information to the public on various issues but must monitor government policies and actions by holding leaders accountable.

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He said his party during the general election benefitted from media coverage by selling its manifesto and campaign messages.

“And now that we are in government, please hold us accountable for the promises that we  made to the masses so that we do the right thing,” said Mr Kalepa.

He said the new dawn administration recognises the media and Civil Society Organizations as partners in development.

Mr Kalepa has however cautioned journalists against misinformation and publishing fake news that can cause chaos in society.

“We don’t need to misinform the masses because that way we will be going against media ethics. But my appeal is that we need to give out information that is accurate,” he said.

Mr Kalepa commended Bloggers of Zambia for coming up with the initiative aimed at enhancing the capacity of journalists in the province with knowledge and skills for identifying, reporting and debunking harmful content on platforms like Facebook.

Earlier, Bloggers of Zambia chief executive officer Richard Mulonga implored journalists in the country to promote the use of technology to enhance democracy.

He  urged media personnel to help clean the use of technology to enhance democracy by being factual in their reporting.

“Technology and democracy have become inseparable because democracy is defined by the right to freedom of expression.

“And the internet has become at the centre of democracy everywhere in the world because it is being used as a tool of freedom of expression through various social media platforms,” he said.

He appealed to members of the public to use the right to freedom of expression on social media platforms responsibly in order to strengthen democracy in the country.

He disclosed that his organization has partnered with Facebook to identify people posting harmful content so that such pages are pulled down.

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