Zambians like ZNBC’s PF propaganda – Siliya
By Malawo Malawo
DORA Siliya says Zambians like ZNBC’s pro-PF propaganda.
But Luena UPND member of parliament David Kundoti has urged members of parliament to buy and support The Mast newspaper because “that’s where the news is.”
Meanwhile, Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu says the public media are mere purveyors of hate speech.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday after information minister Kampamba Mulenga gave a policy statement, Siliya, the agriculture minister, said running a country was a political process that required a mouthpiece.
She, however, said ZNBC was a public institution accountable to Zambians.
“Running a country is a political process, it is not charity! Once we understand that running a country includes politics and [that] politics is fighting for space for the best ideas put forward…it is then unthinkable that any responsible government would not have a mouthpiece. Even in the US, they have Fox TV, in Britain they have the BBC, in China they have the CCTV. So, it will be unthinkable that even when the UPND come in power, for whatever misfortune, that they would not want to have a mouthpiece,” Siliya said.
“The test of the performance of a propaganda mouthpiece is reflected in how the people vote in a democratic society. If indeed ZNBC has been putting forward propaganda; in times of UNIP, the people appreciated that propaganda and voted for UNIP until they were fed up. In times of MMD, the people appreciated that propaganda until they changed their mind and I believe, madam chairperson, this is the same principle for this [PF] government that the people have shown, very recently in August, that they like the propaganda that was commonly referred to as sonta epowabomba! They liked the propaganda on the infrastructure on roads, they liked the propaganda on the infrastructure, on housing; they liked the propaganda on the infrastructure; on shopping malls, they liked the propaganda on the infrastructure of universities [and] they liked the propaganda on clinics.”
She further justified ZNBC’s exclusive coverage of the presidency.
“We just saw in one country in the west [where there was] a very divisive election but at the end of the day, the winners become the biggest news, even being put as the ‘man of the year’ on Newsweek. It is the same principle in this country that when one becomes President, they get such a high office that they will be number one on the news! If you don’t like it, what this country has done is to offer a very liberal media…,” Siliya said.
She further charged that politicians were the ones that abused media operations.
“It is very recent that honourable [Douglas] Syakalima and myself would be forever complaining at how The Post was only covering the PF at that time. It is us, the politicians, who confuse the media; we do and when it suits us, we want to pretend that the media is not okay, no! No! No! I think that in terms of consistency, ZNBC, as a public broadcaster, has been extremely consistent because they have been able to serve whichever government has come into office and that’s the whole purpose; to serve the Zambian citizens,” said Siliya.
But Kundoti, who once served as ZNBC head of Lozi section and also as Radio 4 manager, said: “I want to urge you to buy and support The Mast because that’s where the news is.”
And Mwiimbu said a free media is critical to any country.
“There is no country in the world that succeeds without a free media [and] even communist countries do not censor the way we censor here. They allow members of the public to express themselves, as long as they don’t commit criminal offences in their endeavour to air their views,” said Mwiimbu.
“These public [media] institutions have become institutions that are perpetrating hate speech in this country; there is no doubt about that. I have evidence that these are purveyors of hate speech.”