Mayor against politicians ‘buying journalists’
Mzuzu City Mayor, Gift Nyirenda, has urged his fellow politicians in the country to refrain from the tendency of ‘buying’ journalists in exchange for positive coverage of their stories and events in the public domain.
Nyirenda said character assassination and other forms of unprofessional reporting are happening because politicians give kickbacks to journalists so that they write what they want.
He was speaking yesterday during a march in Mzuzu which journalists held as part of activities marking the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3 each year.
He said the country cannot win the fight against corruption if the work of journalists is compromised by greedy politicians.
“Let the journalists do their job without any compromise. Politicians are not journalists. When politicians are interfering with the works of journalists, it means we are not freeing them,” Nyirenda said.
During the march, journalists carried placards, with messages pleading with the government and stakeholders to promote media independence.
Chairperson of Misa Malawi, Tereza Ndanga, said it is high time the government started arresting people who stand in the way of journalists’ professionalism.
Ndanga also said the modern way of attacking media by hacking their websites and the use of Facebook as well as other social media platforms to insult media practitioners should stop, saying it is affecting the media’s independence and professionalism.
“We are asking authorities to act on this, let impunity not continue; arrest and prosecute the perpetrators and make sure journalists are free,” Ndanga said.
The activities will continue today with a fundraising relay race from Mzuzu to Nkhata Bay in the morning and a gala dinner where awards to outstanding journalists and media houses will be dished out.