1. Executive summary
Code for Africa (CfA) has undertaken this survey to establish whether news organisations in Zambia
have clear editorial policies and are transparent in their business operations. The research is also
intended to examine the accessibility and availability of these policies for both internal and external
Additionally, the findings of this research provide insight into the state of media transparency and
accountability in Zambia, and also inform a number of recommendations to address these
inadequacies and how to build resilience and restore public trust in the media in order to be less
susceptible to media capture. The study revealed policy gaps in newsrooms that could impact media
credibility which in turn could contribute to diminishing trust.
Media capture in this report refers to 'a situation in which the media have not succeeded in becoming
autonomous in manifesting a will of their own1, nor able to exercise their main function, notably of
informing people. Instead, they have persisted in an intermediate state, with vested interests, and not
just the government, using them for malign purposes'.
Drawing on survey findings, interviews and in-house research, this report examines the presence of
newsroom policies in Zambia, and the need for greater accessibility and transparency in their
The report further highlights the challenges faced by media organisations in making newsroom
policies accessible to both internal and external stakeholders, and the reluctance by media owners to
share these policies publicly.

a. Summary of key findings
In reviewing the policies, the study found that:


The ethics policy and the contact page are the most shared with the public at 38%
respectively, while the fact-checking policy was the most available policy at 38%.
While none of the newsrooms surveyed had an Artificial Intelligence (AI) policy, 57% of the
respondents indicated they use AI in different ways. Mwebantu News and Mufumbwe
Community Radio said that they deployed AI to analyse videos and images for news content,
while Mphangwe FM and Lubingu Lwansanse use it to write news bulletins.
Only 19 websites of the 50 media organisations surveyed have a contact page and corrections


Media have not succeeded in becoming autonomous in manifesting a will of their own, In the service of power: Media
capture and the threat to democracy, 2017

Cite this report as: Mwale et al, 'Transparency and trust: newsroom policies in Zambia', African Data and Democracy
Observatory, April 2023.



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