- Southern Africa
Zambian journalists warned against publishing unverified information
On 13 July 2010, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Dickson Jere advised the media in Zambia to be extra cautious with stories they source from what he has termed as disgruntled politicians.
According to a press statement made available to MISA-Zambia and issued by the State House Public Relations Unit, Jere cautioned the media to be weary of obtaining information for stories from disgruntled politicians which are totally wrong and bent on tarnishing the name of the Zambian President Rupiah Banda.
He cautioned journalists to always try and verify information, especially if provided by politicians, because such stories tended to destroy the reputation of the media.
Jere said there was a growing pattern by the media to quote politicians on issues which they could easily and independently verify with relevant authorities before publishing. He said he was shocked to see a story by QFM Radio on its website, alleging that President Banda went to watch the FIFA World Cup Finals in South Africa on his way to Turkey.
Jere explained that the said story quoted former Defence Minister George Mpombo, as having confirmed that President Banda stopped-over in South Africa to watch a football match. He said it was very easy for the media to check such basic facts instead of giving space to what he has alleged to be blatant lies often propagated by Mpombo and others.
The President’s spokesperson said it was a known fact that President Banda left Lusaka on 11 July 2010 in the morning to Ankara, Turkey, on a Presidential Challenger plane and arrived at Esengoga International Airport in Turkey on the same day in the evening. The Presidential plane only made a brief stop-over to refuel in N’djamena, Chad. He explained that Zambian journalists from both the State-run and private media covering the President’s State-visit in Turkey reported his arrival to their respective media houses.
Jere cited previous instances when the political sources made allegations in the media on President Banda which he said were false. He named such as being the purported secret visit by Chadian President Idris Derby and the allegation that President Banda had gone to Cape Town for a knee review when he had not.
Source: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)