Sean Kampondeni (left), Teresa Ndanga (c) and Wisdom Chimgwede, chair media council of malawi ( in green) during the panel discussion

Journalists in Malawi have joined the rest of the world in celebrating the 2021 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) with a call for government to end threats, attacks and arbitrary arrests against them.

According to Misa Malawi, 20 journalists have been physically assaulted, threatened, arbitrary detained and questioned in the line of duty since January 2020.

Speaking during a panel discussion as part of the WPFD celebrations, Misa Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga said the attacks threaten the constitutionally guaranteed media freedom.

“These attacks do not only create fear in journalists but have the potential of compromising the quality of information, as they force journalists to self-censor.

“Unfortunately, government has failed to bring to book and prosecute any of the attackers, despite having an obligation to ensure safety and security of every Malawian. Perpetrators of crimes against journalists continue committing such crimes as they seem to be immune from prosecution,” said Ndanga.

She also urged journalists and media houses to be responsible in their work  and serve public interest and not political or corporate interests.

She advised the media to strive to be ethical in accessing and disseminating information.

On his part, State House Director of Communication, Sean Kampondeni spoken against a culture by some politicians and other public officers, who abuse their powers by abusing journalists.

“Cases of intimidation or threats against the media are not based on government policy. They are just cases of public officials abusing their offices. Government policy is to regard the media as free and fourth arm of government,” claimed Kampondeni.

Meanwhile, UNESCO has called for stakeholders to share solutions to strengthen media viability, transparency on social media platforms and measures to ensure safety of journalists.

According to UNESCO,  this year’s theme, ‘Information as a Public Good’ recognizes, values and defends fact-based journalism to counter spread of misinformation.

However, Misa Malawi held the panel discussion under theme ’30 years since the Windhoek Declaration, what  is the State of Media Freedom in Malawi?’

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