THE year 2013 had so many pointers towards the growth of the television industry in Zambia, but the gaffes and howlers from utter carelessness and the refusal by producers and presenters to pay attention to the very basic journalism ethics negated the positives.
The industry recorded tremendous growth notably the splitting of ZNBC into TV1 and TV2, although the programming of the two channels has largely been replicating each other both in news bulletins and other shows.
Muvi TV had by far the highest growth after introducing the much publicised six new channels for the satellite viewers, whom they asked to move their dishes seven degrees east to access the new channels.
We can only hope that with the new channels on the Muvi TV platform, they can realise that there is more to community news coverage than displaced Kampasa residents and gathering crowds behind their cameras.
It is important that as we review the year 2013 we look forward to what is expected of our television stations in this internet era when people get the news earlier that media houses through the social media.
The proper packaging news will help many television stations appeal to their viewers.
I have been particularly impressed with the way Muvi TV does its comprehensive weather focus sponsored befittingly by Plant Agri Chem.
Often times when reviewing the year, events that took place in the closing stages of the year take prominence but in the case of 2013, the death of Nelson Mandela deservedly takes its rightful place as the most covered event on television.
On ZNBC viewers enjoyed the live coverage of the COSAFA championship as well as the UNWTO the two events that exposed the national broadcaster’s inadequacy when it comes to live broadcasts.
Lest we forget, extensive coverage was also given to several murders of taxi drivers and other people that were rampant in 2013, as Muvi TV continued with their notoriety of showing pictures of mutilated bodies unabated.
Deaths of VIPs got a fair share of airtime including that of wife of first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, Betty and Zambia’s first Cardinal, Medardo Mazombwe who was buried at the Cathedral of the Child Jesus in Lusaka.
The traditional burial of Princess Nakatindi Wina was another noteworthy funeral on our screens and at least towards the end of the year clashes between political party cadres at state funerals thankfully reduced.
Cadres where particularly well behaved during the funeral of late Health deputy minister Patrick Chikusu whose burial was expected to be explosive considering that he was an MMD Member of Parliament (MP) for Katuba serving in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.
This is also the year we witnessed the coverage of the political side of things and court cases including the mouthful interview Kasenengwa MP Victoria Kalima gave after her seat was nullified by the Supreme Court.
Probably the best thing to have happened on television, at least by the high standards of most female viewers, was the introduction of Telemundo which broadcasts various South American telenovas that were an instant hit in most homes.
Overall, the year 2013 was a year of great strides on both private and public television platforms but as we start the New Year, it will be imperative that every television station looks back on the flaws of 2013 and use them to build a strong foundation for the year 2014.
Footage on Muvi TV about the way people chose to enter into the year 2014 left me amazed at how young people, some as little as 11 years old found themselves on the blind side of the law for senselessly getting themselves drunk.
What was shown on ZNBC from Livingstone regarding the New Year festivities was not any pleasing seeing youths vandalising things around.
It’s clear as parents we have our work cut out on how we need to culture our children.
Need we be reminded that Christmas Day is actually the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ while New Year’s Day should be time for reflection on the year ending and mapping out resolutions for the New Year?
It was even worse to see a clip on Muvi TV where a Shibuynji man killed his seven children, a granddaughter and an unborn child by setting ablaze the thatched hut they were in. What offence would so many people commit to be punished in such a manner?
On a sporting note, I watched an interview of FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya on SuperSport 3 on New Year’s Day where he talked about Zambia’s football journey for getting agonizingly close to winning the Africa cup in 1974 and 1994 to finally laying hands on the coveted title in 2012.
“I am not sure if we were the most talented team but we played as a team and worked for each other,” Kalusha said in what quickly reminded me of the raging debate of which one is the most successful Chipolopolo squad between the 2012 AFCON winning team and the others before them.
I particularly sat up to watch the interview when Kalusha begun talking about the Gabon disaster that claimed the entire national soccer team 20 years ago.
The interview also showed widow of late former KK11 netminder Efford Chabala who said she now hates football because of the loss she suffered in 1993. Her son Freeman, a professional footballer himself, also told of how he was too young to know the exact consequence of his late father’s death at the time it happened.
I stumbled across something from veteran journalist, lecturer and columnist Edem Djokotoe. Voice testing and training are no longer prerequisites for getting a job as a broadcaster or reporter on local radio and TV stations.
Pick anyone from the streets and put them behind a microphone or a camera, even if they have no broadcasting voices, no clue about how to use the dictionary to get the phonetic pronunciations of words right and, worse no idea how to read!
And then they insult your intelligence by insisting you roll out the red carpet for them because, guess what, they are celebrities. Really!!!
Go and take a closer look at yourself in the mirror and tell me what you really see! Well said comrade Edem.
Next weekend I will dedicate the column to the feedback I have been receiving over the past month or so. For now Happy New Year and let’s keep in touch on email@example.com