Guest Contributor | Feb 21, 2024 | 0
Information Minister interacts with editors and senior journalists
The government is committed to defending media freedom, protecting journalists’ rights, and ensuring their safety, as it has for the previous thirty-three years, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Hon Dr. Peya Mushelenga, said during a breakfast round table meeting with editors this week.
He made these remarks while addressing media editors and senior journalists from local various media outlets.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting was to symbolizes the crucial collaboration between the government and the media, which he noted is based on transparency, responsibility, and a shared commitment to serve the public interest.
“The government has made sure that journalists can work without fear or intimidation, for it is through your work that our voices are amplified. Last year, we enacted the Access to Information Act to give impetus to the work of journalists. This piece of legislation enables everyone, including the media, to access information from any institution, private or public,” Mushelenga said, adding that the regulations supporting this legislation are being finalized and will be published on various platforms for the media’s input.
He also revealed that his ministry is nearing finalization on two critical bills: the Data Protection Bill and the Cybercrime Bill. The Data Protection Bill seeks to prevent the unauthorized use, collection, processing, and storage of identifiable persons’ personal information, as well as to regulate data protection.
The Cybercrime Bill, on the other hand, intends to provide for the investigation, prosecution, and sentencing of cybercrime offenders in the country. Furthermore, the government is developing a National Digital Strategy to address the need for government-wide digitalization and transformation, he said.
He further underscored that the role of the media, as the fourth pillar of democracy, is indisputable.
“Media houses keep the public informed about matters affecting their lives. As heads of media houses, editors contribute enormously to this role, as their guidance and stewardship shape the narratives of their respective media institutions. They hold the keys to upholding the integrity of journalism.”
Moreover, Mushelenga also used the opportunity to emphasize the significance of responsible journalism in this rapidly evolving world.
“Journalists are not just news purveyors. They are custodians of truth. The public relies on your ability to present facts accurately, verify information rigorously and maintain high ethical standards. The learned academic underscores the need for a sense of responsibility, accountability, and distinction in the course of informing the public. This builds confidence among recipients of information.”
“In this digital age, where information travels across borders instantly, collaboration and responsible reporting are vital. As gate-keepers, you have the power to bridge divides, foster understanding and promote unity in an increasingly interconnected world. We should, as we must, work together to rise above sensationalism, yellow press, and exploitative journalism. We must pursue the truth wherever it leads us and prioritize accuracy above profit,” he said.
The minister said in conclusion that he calls for developmental journalism, signifying collaboration and understanding. “With this partnership, the government and the media should hold hands to build a better future for a well-informed, engaged, and empowered nation.”