One Day Conference on Media and Launching of International Media for Peace
Prepared by UPF Zambia
UPF Zambia is partnering with media practitioners to start the International Association of Media for Peace. This was decided by the two parties after a one day conference themed “The Role of the Media in peace-building” held on 19th May 2017 at Palmwood Lodge in Lusaka. The purpose of the conference is to acquaint journalists with the organization’s work. It was attended by 48 journalists from private and public electronic media and print as well as internet –based publications.
The conference saw speakers including General Malimba Masheke, UPF Eastern Africa Acting Secretary General Rev. Jean Augustin Ghomsi, and former Information Minister Hon. Mike Mulongoti. Others included MISA(Media Institute of Southern Africa) Program Officer Ms. Sally Chiwama; former Permanent Secretary for Eastern Province and Peace Council Member, Mrs. Eularia Zulu as well as UPF Zambia Secretary General Mr. Rudolf Faerber. Current Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mrs. Kampamba Mulenga Chilumba who was supposed to grace the conference couldn’t because of a cabinet meeting.
General Malimba N. Masheke who is a former Zambian Vice President urged journalists to “report relevant facts truthfully and accurately; verify facts, help the public to understand the reality and report in a balanced manner.”
In a captivating lecture, Rev. Faerber quoting UPF and co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon who also is the founder of The Washington Times said, “The media has to stand at the forefront of the defense of human freedom and dignity, in the service of morality. The media has to oppose corruption and (negative) tribalism, racism; and a moral media has to fight against alcohol and drug abuse, immorality and many other destructive vices of society.”
Rev. Faerber set out the cardinal obligations and practices of journalists as truthfulness; loyalty to God and citizens; having the discipline for verification; independence from those they cover as well as being an independent monitor of power. Other responsibilities he tasked media with include, providing a forum for public criticism and compromise; making the significant interesting and relevant; keeping the news comprehensive and proportional, and practitioners striving to exercise their conscience.
On his part, Hon. Mike Mulongoti labored the questions that bedevil media practice. Some of the questions include but are not limited to; should journalists tell the bare truth, or go beyond to promote peace and save lives; when is it justifiable to suppress news; and what should come first; truth or national security, and is the most suitable relationship between power-brokers and the media complicity or total independence? He singled out national media’s advantages as having more potential in terms of sustainable conflict management because it is part and parcel of the society. He also tipped local media for potential of “encouraging democratic principles, supplying credible information, and acting as a guardian of transparent politics.”
While presenting the report of UPF activities in Zambia Rev. Augustin Ghomsi said UPF has a warm and enduring relationship with the government of Zambia which was crowned in 2006 by the visit of UPF co-founder Dr. Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon. At the time she was warmly received at the airport by first Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, and former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Gen. Malimba Masheke.
Currently, UPF acts in the field of rural development, primary and vocational training as well as nutrition. The organization has identified rural projects such as drilling of boreholes, forestry; agriculture and fishery among an array of many others.
Last year 2016, UPF International chose Lusaka, Zambia as the venue for the International Leadership Conference that was attended by parliamentarians from 24 countries of the Eastern Africa region as well as 70 chiefs from across Zambia. The founders were ably represented by the son and daughter-in-law Mr. Kwon Jin Moon and Mrs. Moon, who presided over the launch the Internal Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP).