The media only play their role
President Peter Mutharika finally arrived home from the United States where he attended the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly which ended a week ago.
Unlike last year, when he remained in the US a month after the assembly, this time around, Mutharika only remained there for a week after fellow heads of state had left for their respective countries. Does this call for praise? Well, if you listened to his interview Monday upon arrival at Kamuzu International Airport and you happen to be in the media, you just need to praise Mutharika. It is clear he wants to be praised all the time; otherwise, he will go to town on you.
Mutharika’s message Monday was the same tired refrain that only exposes his congenital aversion to criticism and the media in general. Mutharika, for the umpteenth time, presented the media as a bunch of pessimistic detractors that conveniently look away when something good happens. But we know why he said that.
The media in this country have done an excellent job in reporting positive stories in the areas that the country has done better. The media have reported about successes in HIV and Aids fight, safe motherhood, the fight against child marriages and others. The media is not as bad as Mutharika wants the world to believe.
Mutharika should now accept and start living with it that the media’s role is not to sing praises when it is evident that a lot of things are being done wrongly in the country.
If Mutharika at all wants the media to write anything positive, then he must first sincerely fight and stop corruption which has flourished on his watch. The media do not fabricate stories about mismanagement of public resources, dwindling education standards, a crippled health system, pathetic road network, cronyism and political violence that have become rampant in this country. We all know these are factual and must be reported as such.
A solemn promise that we can make to the President is that, unless things change, the media will continue pursuing with the agility of a Rottweiler what he “perceives” to be negative stories. The media will never abdicate their role of being a watchdog of society even if Mutharika barks and howls.
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