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Malawi government promises free media environment

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Malawi government has said it is making strides in ensuring that the media in the country should operate in an environment free of intimidation and any kind of harassment.

Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango made the statement in Mzuzu over the weekend when he presided over the closing ceremony of a capacity building workshop for broadcasters jointly held by Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (Macra) and Malawi Institute of Journalism (Mij).

Without touching on the contentious Access to Information (ATI), Mhango said government strives to create a conducive atmosphere for operation of both public and private media houses by providing capacity to journalists for instance through the training workshop in question.

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“Government has always assured journalists in the country of their freedoms and it is doing all it can to build their capacity so that they report responsibly by avoiding sensational news coverage. We want all pressmen in the country to operate within the three fundamental pillars of patriotism, integrity and hard work,” said Mhango.

Adding: “I would like to call on the media to be professional when developing any content because the public would like to hear the truth, do not fabricate stories.”

The minister further implored on media owners in the country to provide good working conditions to journalists in order to avoid workplace frustrations which, he said, are recipe for unethical practices such as bribery.

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Executive Director for Church and Society in the Livingstonia Synod of Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Moses Mkandawire said the country still has elements that stifle operation of the media.

“Basically the media in Malawi is relatively free if we compare with other countries, but we still have rivers to cross. For instance there was a press conference at State House recently and a certain media house was barred from attending. To me that is a clear indicator of media suppression,” Mkandawire explained.

During the training 20 journalists from different media houses in the north including community radios were taken through the fundamentals of development communication among others.

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