Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says the proposed regulation of journalists was aimed at weeding masqueraders from the profession and enhance professionalism.

Speaking when he held a closed door meeting with representatives of Media bodies, Kasolo said there were too many innuendos and lies being written about politicians due to lack of media regulation.

“We should actually be led by journalists that ‘look, when we print something, when we broadcast something, it is the truth, we have done our investigation and we have solid back up’. When this happens, all these citizen journalists will disappear because now you will actually black them out. They will be not members of any association. At the moment, everyone says ‘I am a journalist’ anybody! I met a young man last night who was listening to the forum (Diggers and OSISA organised discussion forum on Media regulation), I asked him ‘What do you do?’ he said ‘I am a journalist.’ I said ‘that’t good, who do you work for?’ He said ‘I do stories and I do what, online’. I said ‘who pays you for the stories you do online? He said ‘sometimes I sell to these people like Watchdog!’” Kasolo said.

“And he calls himself a journalist, what I know is that; real journalists don’t even go, boasting that I am a journalist. They just do their work. So I really believe that when we work together, come up with a body that will self regulate (journalists), we will get rid of these bad innuendos that a journalist is liar. You guys do the work, I read the newspapers everyday and I know an article that is written by a good journalist, the way it starts and the way it ends. You don’t even need to read the whole of it, you just need to read the introduction and the closing and you know they have done their work. I would like to think that the journalists of Zambia are well trained. I can see your willingness to come and have a chat.”

Kasolo said there were too many innuendos and lies being written about politicians due to lack of media regulation.

“I don’t want to be in the press all the time that ‘IBA has done this, IBA has done that’. It is my hope that self regulation will work the way it is working in UK where self regulation is really good. You have the group which is owned by Mr. Mardoch, the Sun and other two or three other Media magnets who own other groups of newspapers, TV studios and Radio. And you find that they compete in terms of being the one that has the best scoop and also the best investigative journalism. So when they come and say ‘Tony Blair has done this’ they know, they have already done the investigation and they have it!

“And I think that’s where we are heading, where journalists should be able to say ‘oh yeah, Chanda Kasolo is this, but let us find out a little bit more’ and they do that investigation, when the story comes out, it’s based on facts and there will be no one to say this is fake news. Because once journalists polish up their pencils and start writing well investigated stories, then we are going to benefit as a nation. You see, at the moment we have been in innuendos about politicians, about business people and so on. And we seem as Zambians to wallow in speculation and innuendos.”