Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga says President Edgar Lungu values media freedom.
And Malupenga says News Diggers newspaper has shown professionalism by apologizing for misquoting President Lungu.
Speaking during the launch of Millennium Television station, Monday, Malupenga thanked President Lungu for his magnanimity in handling media issues.
“We are aware of what happened in the last few days where News Diggers misquoted the President, we want to give the opportunity to thank the President for his magnanimity in the way he responded to the whole matter. So we thank the President for his magnanimity and it shows that there is enough room for the media and government. People are saying that we don’t have room for press freedom yet we even have room to make mistakes as long as we can correct them. So I want to thank the President for his magnanimity and the parental manner in which he responded because we know the gravity of that matter, it could have been different, he approached the whole issue maturely and more importantly we recognize the courage of News Diggers,” Malupenga said.
Malupenga thanked News Diggers for apologizing, saying it showed professionalism in their operations.
“In the same vein we also want to thank News Diggers for their courage to apologize and correct the record. Generally, myself I know how difficult it is to make an apology or a correction for a newspaper. So it took a lot of courage for News Diggers to do what they did. That we have to thank them and it shows professionalism. It shows that your desire is always to report correctly, each time you get your facts wrong you will be quick to apologize. So for that reason, we also want to thank the News Diggers for showing that mark of professionalism. For you to apologize and set the record straight that is professional and it must be recommended,” Malupenga said.
“We want to thank News Diggers for their courage to go apologize like that, it shows courage on the newspaper. It also speaks to the professionalism of that paper. If you are not professional you may try to ignore. As a government we recognize the efforts that News Diggers put in to apologize because it speaks about their commitment to professionalism and to remain loyal to ethical and professional journalism. When you have reported the truth when someone complains, if what you reported is correct, you have no reason to apologize because what you reported is the truth. Someone can even decide to sue and you will go to court knowing that you have the truth to defend you.”
Malupenga urged reporters to report accurately and factually.
“You are, therefore, advised that as you send your reporters on various assignments, your reporters must pay particular attention to the sources so that they understand clearly what they are saying and report accurately especially if your source happens to speak in local language which you may not be very familiar with. Please remember that there is no room for negligent errors in the media and journalists are advised to exercise the highest level of accuracy at all times,” said Malupenga.