Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka went to town on Monday, accusing the media of failing to encourage investors into the mining sector due to negative reporting.
Msaka who was opening a media sensitisation workshop on reporting issues of natural resources, energy and mining in Liwonde, said as a result of this, Malawi has not made huge success in mining as other countries in the world have done.
“Mining is going to change the economy of the country if we handle it very well but ever since Kayelekera Mining was opened in the country, I have never read any positive stories about it” claimed Msaka.
“The media is almost hounding Kayeleker a [Paladin] out of their investments,” he added.
Msaka pointed out that it is clear that Paladin is reacting to negative publicity especially when considering their excuse that they had to put Kayelekera Uranium mining on care and maintenance because of bad uranium prices on the world market.
“But the question is, Paladin is also mining Uranium in Namibia why have they not suspended production there?” he queried.
He then asked the media to teach themselves first before writing on any issues including the controversial contractual agreement between government and Paladin.
“We need to understand the international best practices before vilifying and criticising,” said Msaka who was Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet at the time the agreement was made.
“If you publish falsehoods stop being a journalist,” he advised. “You can’t be a media that will be a post office or a transit route of mischief.”
He said because everyone can be a journalist, a journalist with professional quality must ask questions like how they want to encourage the mining sector to succeed; why they are in this profession.
Msaka argued that a journalist worth their salt must make sure that government does the right thing and makes the right deals.
“Make sure that NGOs do not stop investors in this country,” he said.
Msaka then also attacked foreign nations especially those who participated in the scramble for Africa saying they have no moral higher ground to be telling the country about the country’s environment.
“Environment should be our concern not that of foreigners in the embassies. If we hear it from them then we are failing,” he said.
He said the ministry decided to touch base with the media because ‘a journalist can misquote silence’.
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