CHIEF Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda says KBN TV could have avoided being in conflict with the law by not broadcasting a private phone conversation between two senior government officials.

In a statement, Thursday, Kasanda said KBN TV should have verified the authenticity of the recording with the people concerned.

“Government is concerned with the unprofessional conduct of some media houses in their reporting. A case in point is KBN Television station which broadcast a private telephone conversation between two senior Government officials without verifying the authenticity of the recording with the people concerned. This is contrary to media professional ethics and conduct, which demands that a journalist ought to verify any information before publishing it,” Kasanda stated.

“Government is, therefore, concerned that KBN found itself in conflict with the law on a matter that it could have avoided had it followed basic principles of journalism. The media profession has adequate guidelines which if observed, can protect journalists from misinforming, misleading and infringing upon other people’s rights.”

She stated that media freedom was not absolute.

“It ought to be stressed that, media freedom is not absolute as it comes with responsibility on the part of the media which include verifying information before publishing it, balance, objectivity and accuracy. This is even more crucial now in the wake of social media where people who are not journalists share information, some of which is not true. Journalists as professionals must guard against falling prey to publishing any information that they collect without verification,” Kasanda stated.

“The onset of social media has placed higher responsibility on the media never to compromise their ethical and professional conduct. I wish to restate Government’s commitment to freedom of the media as this is key in the promotion and preservation of democracy. This can be demonstrated by Government’s hands-off approach to the media in which it is promoting media self regulation, editorial independence and access to information.
With these and other reforms that Government is undertaking, the media is assured of freedom in its role of informing, educating and entertaining the public.”

Kasanda urged the media to always seek clarification from designated offices.

“But in all this, the media is called upon to play its part by being responsible and professional in their work.
I also wish to take this opportunity to advise the media to always seek clarification from designated offices on various national matters. For all Presidential matters, the designated office is that of the Presidential Spokesperson, for all Government issues, the designated office is that of the Chief Government Spokesperson who is also the Minister of Information and Media, and for all party matters the responsible office is that of the Party Spokesperson. This is to ensure a smooth flow of information to the public,” stated Kasanda.

In the said audio, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security permanent secretary for administration Josephs Akafumba and Special Assistant to the President for Politics Levy Ngoma are heard plotting how to handle some leadership wrangles in the opposition Democratic Party.