Arnold is the news editor of The Health Journal in Lusaka, Zambia.
After working in the radio department of the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication he joined Radio Choice FM in 2002 as a reporter and later became a news editor. He has contributed to Interworld Radio since 2006. Arnold holds a diploma in Journalism and Public Relations from the Norma-Jean College of Broadcasting and Communications in Lusaka. He has also taken courses with the BBC World Service Trust, Word Bank Institute, the International Institute of Journalism Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany and the Southern Africa Media Training trust.
Why did you decide to be a journalist?
Basically my dad played a big role in me becoming a journalist. When I was in my fifth grade he would sit me down and offer me a newspaper to read and then ask me to narrate to him what I understood from it. He would also ask me to listen to the radio or TV news and then explain what was being read in the news. With time I started to become interested in being either a radio presenter or a news writer.
Why did you decide to focus your work on development issues?
I decided on this line because I want to build bridges between the governed and the governors. Since Zambia is a third world country, I have a big role to play in ensuring that the country develops. I need to bring to the attention of policy makers the issues that affect people at the grassroots.
What is the role of journalists in Zambia’s development?
Basically journalists have to educate the citizens on the prevailing economic, political and social stratum of the country. We must set the agenda on what’s happening and what’s not happening and what needs to be done. Ordinary people must never be forgotten in the news agenda, for it is them that we serve. Zambian journalists have a duty to probe and to ask difficult questions – to provide a platform for democratic debate and a vent for people's opinions. News stories of underachievement, corruption, nepotism or failure of government policies are vital in pointing out where the nation needs attention.
What are the main challenges ahead for journalism in Zambia?
For Zambian journalism to assume a more meaningful social and civic role, it must raise fundamental questions about power, social justice and culture. This means that whenever appropriate, journalists take a stand, actively interpret 'facts,' let ordinary people speak about their experiences, and make moral and ethical judgments. Such an approach requires specific reporting strategies that move away from the short-sighted, myopic definitions of news and how to cover it.
The idea of journalistic objectivity must be recognized as a myth and be replaced by a view of the reporter as an integral part of the community about which he or she reports. Such an approach would emphasise processes rather than discrete events, dynamic explanations rather than static descriptions, bottom-up rather then top-down flow of information, a wide range of sources rather than officials and experts, and an explicit commitment to social change rather than professed neutrality. Journalists would replace the dry, mechanical recitation of 'facts' with evaluation and interpretation. Clearly these tasks represent a very different model of journalism than the one prevailing now in my country and worldwide.