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THE Government has said that media houses in the country have failed to regulate themselves and this had prompted the calls from various stakeholders for statutory regulation.

Chief Government spokesperson, Ronnie Shikapwasha said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the failure by the media to regulate themselves was blatantly exhibited in the period running to the October 30 presidential election.

He challenged the Media Council of Zambia (MECOZ), Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and the Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ), among others, to prove that the media could regulate themselves.

Recently, members of Parliament (MPs) and the Government called for statutory regulation of the media following what they termed as unprofessional reporting in the period of campaigning for the October 30 polls.

During the campaign period, Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha said some sections of the media openly insulted some presidential candidates under the pretext of freedom of the Press.

Gen Shikapwasha, who is Information and Broadcasting Services minister, said even some MPs who were in support of self-regulation of the media had now changed their mind after noticing the unprofessional reporting by some media houses.

“Even some people that supported self-regulation of the media can no longer do that because in the last few months, some media organisations have shown that they cannot regulate themselves. When you go to such extents, it clearly shows that there is need for regulation,” Gen Shikapwasha said.

As a result of the failure by the media to prove that they could regulate themselves, he said, the Government was left with no option but to seek statutory regulation.

On Monday, media bodies rejected calls by the Government for statutory regulation, saying the decision was misplaced and made out of emotions.