By Phillip Pasula
MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-The Media Council of Malawi (MCM) says there is need for media practitioners to abide by media ethics.
The council stressed on Friday, May 12, 2023 in Mzuzu at the end of a three-day training for journalists that took place at Chatonda Lodge.
During the training, journalists were taken through the Access to Information Act of Malawi, Social and Gender Based Violence reporting guidelines and a generic framework for planning and structuring research on new and unfamiliar topics in new approaches to investigative journalism titled Exposing the Invisible.
Executive Director for Media Council of Malawi, Moses Kaufa, said there was need for the media to understand the Access to Information law for them to serve the nation accordingly.
“Information governance mostly involves the media and so we felt that having the Access to Information law in place, we needed the media to take the first role in informing the people that they serve how the law operates.
“But they couldn’t do that if they did not understand the law themselves. That’s why we felt that we needed to have this session alongside other areas like Gender Based Violence,” he said.
Kaufa added, “We also felt that the media don’t dig deeper into real issues that affect people in the communities.
“That’s why we also touched on aspects of investigation to make sure that the media are provided with relevant skills in investigating social issues that affect people in the communities”.
Commenting on how Malawian journalist are faring across the country on issues of ATI, GBV and investigative work, Kaufa said the council felt they were doing better but not enough because of lack of resources.
Kaufa said: “We are doing better. The problem that we have is resources. Most of the times reporters are sponsored by organisations to go to the field to gather information. That is a challenge because a reporter cannot publish something that is critiquing the organisation that has sponsored them.
“What we are looking into is to make sure that media houses should be able to mobilise their own resources so that they can send reporters out there to investigate issues.”
One participant, Rose Cross Mahoriya who works for the Malawi News Agency (MANA), said the training was very important for the day to day operations of a reporter.
“Information by its nature is dynamic. It keeps on changing. If as journalists we are not moving forward, we will be lacking in our communication. ATI opened doors for investigative journalism and other forms of reporting including GBV,” she said.
Media Council of Malawi is conducting such trainings across the country seeking to ensure that journalists have increased knowledge of the history and development of perspectives on media ethics, increased understanding of the ATI Act, increased knowledge and understanding of dominant ethical themes like GVB and child rights; and increased understanding of an investigative social story and how to reconnect audiences and communities to these kinds of stories.