Minister calls for news content in local languages to promote access to information – Zambia
With 68 percent of Zambians living in poverty and literacy levels standing at 55.3 percent with more pronouncement in females than males, publication of newspapers and magazines in various local languages can be key to information dissemination to the general public.
This can further increase public understanding of national issues and in turn strengthen the practice of freedom of expression at community level.
Earlier this year, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Kampamba Mulenga, on her visit to Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS) studios in Kasama stressed the need to start printing various news in local languages as a way of informing and educating the public.
She said the media plays a critical role in fostering development and ensuring that people stay informed and educated by disseminating information to the people living in different communities.
And Brenda Bukowa, a media expert, says the move citing that it will enhance people’s participation on national issues because they will now understand the information that is being presented in the newspapers and magazines.
She notes that publication of newspapers and magazines in various local languages will significantly improve the public’s access to information and freedom of expression because people will now talk from things they understand.
Bukowa has further stressed on the need to put quality content in the newspapers and journals that will attract people to buying them.
Meanwhile, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) Executive Director, Chifwembe Mwenge, says the move is welcome and will really help a lot of people access information and understand what is going on in the country especially that few people can read and write English.
He reiterated the need to diversify the circulation process of the newspapers and magazines from places along the line of rail to all parts of the country to ensure that people get informed and educated on issues surrounding them.
He further acknowledged the cost that comes with the printing process especially that very few people can afford buying newspapers and magazines on a daily basis.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.