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UNDP calls for responsible media

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BY FAITH KAMTAMBE:

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called upon journalists in the country to report election matters responsibly.

The UN agency says false stories can negatively affect the electoral process.

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Speaking at a national conference on elections for media managers on Tuesday in Lilongwe, UNDP Chief Technical Adviser for Elections, Richard Cox, said media houses have a mandate to give people the right information.

“There is need for a clear understanding of the work that is being undertaken by the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec),” he said.

Asked to comment on the media’s performance in reporting on the electoral process, Cox said he can only describe it as a mixed bag.

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He said the media raises or lowers the temperature on the streets arguing that there is need for responsible journalism.

“It is a bit mixed and that is why the media itself needs to have a clear understanding of what it is doing. Sometimes there are gaps and there will be many rumours, especially on the social media and you cannot control it and that is why we need the mainstream media to counter the rumours that will be generated by social media,” he said.

Mec Chairperson, Jane Ansah, said the forthcoming elections will witness stiff competitions; hence, the media have to report without being partisan.

“We, as Mec, and the whole country rely on the media to collect and report unbiased information. We have entered the election period and the media is very important now that we have also entered the registration period. People have to be mobilised to go and register,” she said.

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