Saviour Chishimba versus ZRA – The Media in the crossfire
By Kellys Kaunda
Lately, Dr. CHISHIMBA has made serious allegations against various individuals and institutions, allegations that have all been reported in the media. There have been some responses on the part of those accused but not quite like the response from Zambia Revenue Authority, ZRA. The latter has taken another step beyond merely refuting the allegations but also taking legal action. This action by the tax collector is instructive and requires pause and reflection.
Once, it was believed that the media was all-powerful such that what it reported was taken as gospel truth with the capability to make or destroy people or institutions. This view carried on unchallenged for years until some scholars discovered that this alleged power was checked against other sources of knowledge and information that media consumers were exposed to. This view holds true to a large extent.
So Dr. CHISHIMBA’s allegations may influence some sections of society but may be dismissed by others. But be that as it may, there are some sections of society, especially at a global level, that may not be privy to domestic dynamics. Without the latter, their views about Zambia may be influenced by allegations made by Dr. CHISHIMBA resulting in the country losing out on some opportunities that could have turned around the fortunes of millions for generations to come!
For this reason, the decision by ZRA is in the best interest of the country and ought to be embraced by anyone who feels that national interests are at stake. Where the media has not checked their story against the truth, public bodies that have been accused owe it to the Zambian people to not only present their side of the story but also send a strong message to would-be peddlers in information that they need to check their facts before they go public.
When all is said and done, the media space must be regarded by all and sundry as a sacred ground and fountain where only clean and decent informational exchange takes place.