MEDIA URGED TO OBSERVE ETHICAL GUIDELINES AND PRESCRIBED REGULATIONS DURING AND AFTER ELECTIONS – IBA

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MEDIA URGED TO OBSERVE ETHICAL GUIDELINES AND PRESCRIBED REGULATIONS DURING AND AFTER ELECTIONS – IB

The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has called on media houses in the country to observe its ethical guidelines and comply with prescribed regulations of the authority before, during and after general elections.

IBA Director Josephine Mapoma says as media coverage a yardstick used to determine whether an election is free and fair , hence the need for licensees to familiarise themselves with the IBA act .

Stressing that their risks associated with lack of understanding of the entire process, Ms. Mapoma observed that the election period calls for greater care and responsible reporting by both radio and television outlets in terms of how they package their reports.

The IBA Director stressed that the authority will ensure that it carries its mandate to regulate materials disseminated to the public is palatable.

Ms. Mapoma was speaking in an interview yesterday on the sidelines of the ongoing workshop for IBA’s licensees on the Copperbelt province being hosted in the Ndola District.

She was speaking in an interview yesterday on the sidelines of the ongoing workshop for IBA’s licensees on the Copperbelt province being hosted in the Ndola District.

“ The country is about to achieve a great milestone on August 12 this year and the media plays a critical role in enhancing democracy by providing a platform for all stakeholders to reach out to electorates, “ she said.

The IBA is aware of the huge task and challenges facing the broadcasting station in the country this year noting that they are a preferred medium of disseminating information as political rallies are being discouraged in view of the ravaging pandemic, coronavirus.

She said her office has since developed the provision of the standard operating procedure on election reporting to highlight the role of media in the electoral cycle and risks associated with a lack of understanding of the entire processes.

“We are not policing but providing guidance to media and show that journalist is a profession.

“ We are guided by the provision of the Act which compels the authority to level the playing field and ethical standards are observed.

“ We know that prevalence of coronavirus dictates that political players will rely more on media houses to air their campaign messages to a wider audience and this is where we come in to regulate the content if it’s consumable,” she said.

And IBA Manager Standards and Consumer Affairs Independent Broadcasting Authority said license training Leah Kabamba has advised media houses not to be excited with offers from political players and stakeholders who will want to disseminate campaign messages which can send the country into flames.

Ms.Kabamba said the authority requires licensees to be professional and ethical in their reporting.

“ It is against this background that the training has incorporated officers who produce materials for TV and radio stations to make them understand that what is being disseminated standard operating procedure on election reporting, “ she said.

Meanwhile, Sun FM/TV manager Curtis Slimar has commended the authority for embarking on an exercise to familiarize its licensees of code of conduct and the Act which regulates Broadcasting.

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