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Britain sponsors Misa-Malawi chair

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By Richard Chirombo:

NDANGA— Journalism is not a crime

The British High Commission (BHC) has sponsored Media Institute of Southern Africa- Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga’s trip to London, the United Kingdom (UK), where she will attend the Global Conference for Media Freedom.

The indaba will be held from July 10 to 11.

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A BHC report released Wednesday indicates that Ndanga will join government ministers and officials, representatives of multilateral agencies, civil society organisations, academics, editors, publishers and journalists “in pushing for a greater appreciation of the value of an independent media and more co-ordinated approach to securing the safety of media professionals across the globe”.

It quotes Chargѐ d’Affaires at BHC, Gary Leslie, as saying: “Malawi is a shining example on media freedom in the region as the freedom to inform has improved for the past 15 years. The country has one of the best constitutions on the continent with clear and independent provisions of freedom of expression.

“Despite this seemingly positive outlook, the media operating environment can be risky, exploitative and retrogressive. Members of the media have been physically assaulted or barred from covering some functions. We hope Mrs Ndanga and other delegates to the conference will debate these issues and deliver concerted action on how we take forward the agenda of media freedom, which the UK passionately supports.”

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On her part, Ndanga says, while Malawi has made strides in promoting media freedom, journalists in the country continue to struggle to access public information.

“Some [journalists] have in the recent past been verbally assaulted and physically attacked and yet there is impunity for crimes committed against journalists. This conference is Malawi’s opportunity to echo the voices of journalists worldwide that journalism is not a crime, share our success stories and bring home the lessons from all corners of the world,” Ndanga says.

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