By Abigail Kashweka
Almost all the media houses in the Eastern Province had an opportunity to host the Minister of Information and Media Chushi Kasanda who took a two-day working visit to Eastern Province.
During her tour radio stations and the television station in the City of Chipata, the Minister called for strengthened partnerships between the Government and the private mainstream media to keep a well-informed citizenry.
Ms Kasanda, who is also the Government Spokesperson, observed that social media has been infiltrated by falsehoods that end up not helping the masses.
Ms Kasanda stated that coordinated efforts between the government and mainstream media will help achieve the goal of having a well informed nation.
She also indicated that social media is to some extent an enemy to the mainstream media for it is used to spread falsehoods.
“We have social media which is to some extent an enemy of mainstream media because there is so much falsehoods and politicking which is not helping citizens,” she said.
The Minister further appreciated the role that local media Institutions are playing in information dissemination on various issues.
“We appreciate the work that you are doing. We need a good work relationship between yourselves and us because at the end of day your goal and our goal is to make sure that information reaches the people, and this information should be information that they will understand and must be first hand,” she explained.
The Minister toured Chipata Television Station, Radio Maria, Breeze FM, 3FM, Zambia Daily Mail and Feel Free Radio Station.
Among the concerns raised by private media operators was the high cost of licences, especially for budding institutions.
Alfred Mwanza, a Station Manager at Feel Free Radio said the cost of running radio stations is high hence the need to revise downwards the licensing fees.
“Most radio stations are struggling especially new ones. They need to pay staff amongst other expenses, and the cost of licences is taking a toll on them, he said.
Meanwhile, Chipata Television Station Manager Grace Banda said the government should come up with a deliberate policy to have a fixed payment to signal carriers as it is expensive for the local media to settle different charges for each platform they would like to feature on.
And touring Radio Maria, the Minister had a closed-door meeting with Chipata Catholic Diocese Bishop George Lungu.