Public media should run as businesses

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LINDA NYONDO, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT says time has come for the public media organisations to run as businesses.
Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, Chanda Kasolo, said that media organisations should use a model that emphasises business management when running the institutions.
“The PF government is on a serious mission to break the long-held tradition where the public media have existed as bottomless pits, where public media resources have been poured without profit,’’ he said.
Mr Kasolo said at a workshop for public media heads in Lusaka yesterday that all public media institutions have experienced difficult circumstances, economically, but that they are impressively trying hard to come out of the doldrums.
He pointed out Zambia Daily Mail as a model of public media institutions, adding that the company has done extremely well in recovering from financial challenges.
“Government is a funder of last resort, and it must remain so. It must not be the source of every capital, and media organisations should work hard to stand on their own,’’ Mr Kasolo said.
He said that the PF government has a totally different outlook on how to run public media institutions, despite the fact that they want them to be non-partisan and support government programmes.
Speaking earlier, Zambia Institute of Mass communication director Oliver Kanene said the focus is on media houses to balance the social responsibility to provide information with the ability to survive.
“We acknowledge that media houses have to run as business, but as journalists, we are protective of our profession. We do not want to relinquish our profession to business and lose our professionalism,’’ he said.
Mr Kanene said that while there is talk about media houses being independent and profit-making, they must not lose track of their core business, which is to be conveyors of news.

 

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