Minister in the Office of the Vice-President Sylvia Chalikosa has urged journalists aspiring to join the elite club in the industry to emulate already-accomplished practitioners by using the power of the pen wisely.

Speaking at an awarding ceremony for outstanding journalists on “Sustainable Diets” in the year 2018 organised by CSPR and HIVOS, Wednesday, Chalikosa, in a speech read for her by Permanent Secretary in the office of the Vice-President Stephen Mwansa, observed that the media plays an important role in contributing towards poverty reduction in the country.

The Minister urged nominated journalists and those aspiring to join the media to ensure that their power was expressed in the good works worth an award instead of joining those associated with false and bad reporting.

“In undertaking poverty and vulnerability reduction programmes in the country, one of the strategies is through agriculture-led diversification of food production and sustainable food systems because this forms the basis for better and healthy diets at household-level. This leads to lifestyles that contribute to wellness in the country. By this very strategy, we are able to address many health-related challenges, including hunger, malnutrition and poverty. The net effect of this strategy is human capital that has higher capacity to drive social and economic development towards our vision of becoming a prosperous and middle-income nation by 2030. One of the critical component in the strategy stated earlier is promoting nutrition education and behaviour change communication in society. However, this cannot be achieved without the participation of media practitioners, such as journalists and radio personalities,” Chalikosa noted in her speech.

“Therefore, the role of the media, in this regard, is what has brought us to this event. It is an occasion when we award journalists and radio personalities for their great contribution towards poverty reduction in the country. Allow me to pay tribute to the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) and HIVOS Southern Africa for spearheading the awards, targeting poverty reduction in society as a specific intervention. Further, I wish to recognise the efforts of the deserving journalists and radio personalities for this year, for making an indelible mark in the media field, and for joining great men and women among professionals in the media landscape.”

She also encouraged media practitioners to always uphold good ethics and promote truthful reporting.

“To those aspiring to join the elite club in the media industry, you are advised to emulate the winners and many accomplished practitioners in the field by using the power of the pen wisely. Let your power be expressed in the good works worth an award instead of joining those associated with false and bad reporting. I am confident that this event does not only serves as a motivation to upcoming media personnel, but also act as a reminder that the same ‘powerful pen’ places greater responsibility, among men and women, to raise media ethics higher than ever in promoting truthful reporting. This is what the nominees have done by telling incredible stories of courage, challenge, and triumph focused on promoting national development. To CSPR and HIVOS, job well done for realising that the media industry is a very important partner in national development,” said Chalikosa.

Meanwhile, HIVOS Advocacy Officer for Sustainable Diets William Chilufya urged all journalists to continue reporting truthfully, even if they had not been awarded at Wednesday’s awards.

Some of the journalists that were recognized were; Wendson Mavoro of Diamond TV; August Kaoma of Hot Fm; Flaviour Chishala of Millenium Radio; Jajah Coulibaly of the Times of Zambia; Mirriam Chabala of News Diggers! and Jason Dube of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) for outstanding business talk show, best radio feature, best crop diversity article and best TV talk show respectively.