OCiDA has written the Electoral Commission of Zambia on the biased news coverage by the public broadcaster, ZNBC.

Our Civic Duty Association (OCiDA) chairperson Gilbert Temba, in a letter dated June 16, 2021, addressed to ECZ chairperson justice Esau Chulu, said his organisation is deeply concerned by ZNBC’s “biased coverage” of political players, particularly during this time of election.

He said OCiDA has observed that there was exclusive coverage of the PF, at the exclusion of all other political parties.

“The unfair coverage by ZNBC is preventing the electorate from accessing diverse views of political players, thus depriving them of the information needed to make informed decisions,” Temba said. “We are demanding that you compel ZNBC to comply with the provisions of Article 50 of the Constitution and those of the Electoral Code of Conduct which compel the media to give fair access to political parties and candidates contesting elections.”

Article 50 of the Zambian Constitution states that: “a political party and a candidate contesting an election shall have access to the media, especially during election campaigns.”

Likewise, paragraph 7 (1) (a) of the Electoral Process Code of Conduct states that “print and electronic media shall provide fair and balanced reporting of the campaigns, policies, meetings, rallies and press conferences of all registered political parties and candidates during the campaign period.”

Temba reminded the ECZ about its mandate outlined in paragraph 8 (2), which states that “the Commission shall prescribe the amount of air time in any given language on public television or radio to be allocated to a political party or candidate”.

“It is our sincere hope that the Commission will act decisively on this issue,” said Temba.

The letter has been copied to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union (EU), local and international observers and ZNBC.


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