BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-As the world is commemorating World Press Freedom Day, today under the theme “Journalism without fear or favor”, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter has reminded government, political parties, media users and other stakeholders to ensure that journalists and the media in general is free from political and commercial interests to effectively serve public interest.
In press statement issued on May 3, 2020, signed by its Chairperson Theresa Ndanga, MISA has asked government to stop using Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) as tools to spread propaganda in favour of the ruling party in the country.
The local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in Malawi has also asked government to ensure that the state media is run under the Communications Act of 2016.
MISA Malawi has highlighted the need for government to stop using MACRA as a tool to silence and intimidate independent broadcasters in the country.
The broadcasting media regulatory framework has also been asked to be
independent and promote and defend media independence and professionalism by refraining from abusing its power by stopping the broadcasting of information which is in public interest.
MISA Malawi has disclosed that many journalists in 2019 were attacked by party functionaries, cabinet ministers, Members
of Parliament, the police, and members of the public and hence has asked the Police to investigate and prosecute cases involving the assault, harassment or unlawful detention or arrest of journalists and other media practitioners in the country.
MISA Malawi has also asked the Minister of Information and Communications Technology to set a date for the commencement of the Access to Information Act to ensure that Malawians fully enjoy the right to free expression and other fundamental human rights.
MISA Malawi has however commended the media for adhering to professional standards of practice and implementing the code of conduct in the 2019 Tripartite Elections and media managers for reviving the Media Council of Malawi (MCM) to drive media self-regulation and ensure a professional, independent and accountable media sector in the country