Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says government will continue allowing the media to self regulate but his ministry will just formulate a law to help them do so.
Kasolo told News Diggers in an interview that there was no inconsistency between the soon to be drafted media regulatory law and the PF manifesto which promotes self regulation of the media.
“It’s very clear. We have tried to get the media to self regulate, they even formed an organization something like ZAMAC or something like that but they failed to set it up properly and to actually have people to pay into the organization so that it can be administered. So we can’t just leave it to chance that our friends in the media will just carry it on and make all the mistakes and you don’t even have a structure to identify who is a true journalist and who is not. So to assist you (journalists) in setting that up, we are just drafting out, when we finish the drafting, we will consult with the various media houses and journalists so that they can have their input in this,” Kasolo said.
“[Then] we will regulate it though the normal parliamentary process so that it becomes law. What that does is it gives media and journalists professions a chance to know how to self regulate, [like] if you have an organization and that organization will be run by yourselves, it won’t be run by government. It will be run by journalists, you vote in the president, secretary general etc and you have a secretariat. Now how are you going to run that? It will be all people that will be called journalists will have to become members of this organization and there will be a subscription fee per annum. Let’s assume that you have got a 1,000 journalists and they are subscribing K100 a year, that is K100,000. It’s doable because that sort of money can run a small secretariat and ensure that with the assistance of others, there is regulation so that if somebody goes wrong, the organization itself will regulate that person, they will take him/her to task, they will pass charges and fees and what have you.”
He said there would be order in journalism.
“So people will now be called journalists as a profession not journalists that just wake up in the morning and says ‘I am a journalist.’ No, there will be order. That is what we want. So self regulation will continue but what we are trying is to give you a platform which is backed by law within which to self regulate. It will be self regulation but it will give you a structural basis. So it isn’t us regulating, it is us giving you a regulatory framework within which you self regulate,” Kasolo said.
And Kasolo said there was no inconsistency between the PF manifesto and the new media regulation law.
“So there is no inconsistence with the PF manifesto at all. The PF manifesto insists that journalists should self regulate but what we are saying is they have failed to set it up. So let us help them by setting it up, we assist them, consult them and finalizing the frame work which will be backed up by law so that when they regulate themselves, their organization will have the power to actually protect its members,” said Kasolo.