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Thursday, September 4, 2008

A free media strategy for the DPP

As I said it before, I find ti difficult sometimes to comment on some current affairs because of the perceptions it sometimes generate. Especially the political side. With seven months of returning to print media, I have been labelled all sorts of parties from the DPP, UDF and MCP and even PPM. One thing that keeps me going, is hope and the sense that I have done better as a Journalists. I write without flinching an eye on whose toe I will be stepping. I have been offered funny jobs within the same months, I have had threats, suspicious break-in and more importantly some body went to town to threaten me that I will be arrested. Harrassment has been more visible in services I cant mention here and I know with elections, it will be a real and great time for Journalists. But of course, I have experience of two elections-1999 and 2004, so I have learnt that only professionals survive the ride and mantain their dignity. I can confidently say I have never exchanged a story for money, nor been used by anybody. Actually I prefer writing about health and entertainment more than politics.
But of late what has forced me to write this is the DPP Secretary General Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba's new found hobby,to criticise the Nation newspaper everyday on State Radios-MBC and Television.
I do listen to all the radios and enjoy a wide selection of daily reading on the internet. My favourates of all time online are Post Zambia, Mail and Guardian, BBC, Washington Post, Times and Nation Media. Occassionally i surf anything with Obama, Mugabe or global crisis.
But I can bet my salary that within a week, Dr. Ntaba will on air disputing a story published in the Nation. Very few times I will hear him telling the country the achievements of this administration.
Now seriously, should a whole party Chief Executive reduce himself to sparring with Journalist other than waking up the campaign machinery with only eight months to go to the next election?
I again want to offer a free media strategy to the DPP and how they can engage the media better and promote the image of their presumptive candidate President Bingu wa Mutharika than wasting their energies on the Nation.
1. Reacting stories on radio: No one really believes in stories until there is refutation. Newspaper circulation is basically around 50,000 at the maximum, reacting on a radio with an audience of 4million plus means you are telling people a story they would have not known. It back fires as in africa-where there is smoke there is fire or more at home "utsi sufuka popanda moto."
2. Talk more in the positive sense: Instead of trying to get negatives, expand on the achievements of President Mutharika. I argued with someone while at MBC, that giving Bingu 2 minutes and Muluzi and James Phiri 15 minutes looks like a bad campaign strategy. People love to be identified with achievements than negative stories. If someone had studied principals of broadcasting he she would understand that having Dr. Ntaba everyday actually puts off people who dont believe in him. Why not change and have Phoya, Katsong, Goodall, Chimunthu and others on what their Ministries have achieved under Bingu than putting off those that have followed the man from MCP via NCD and UDF to DPP.
3. Expand more on the achievements of Mutharika. I would like to hear how Ntchisi road has changed lives of Malawians doing business like transport and buying and selling items. I want to know what Kayelekela has brought to people of Karonga. People want to tell their success stories over subsidy not about Muluzi's many self inflicated woes. The guy could have served my country better if he retired from politics. This is what I want to hear from my radio station not Muluzi and Tembo in negative. Give more voices to the people.
4. There are issues that are real and associate with Mutharika, a good road network, a stable economy, subsidy and even rearing of animals. One sees many livestock today than five years ago because thieves made out of hunger are now gone. I want to hear such stories from the rural Malawian.
We are told Aids figures are going down, we are told we have enough food, bring the evidence talk to real people and lets give them a voice on our national radios.
I have heard rebroadcasts of Muluzi's speeches, but I always wonder if someone went back to the archives and listened to Bingu. There is a particular place where he challenged that he will never step again at that place until the road is constructed. I said -is he mad. But the guy did it, why not remind people of that area that this is someone who can live up to his own set targets.
Why on earth do you want to react to anything a paper writes than promote your candidate.
As I said at one point, mwina wina wake aukutafuna sikono penapake afuna amugwiritse mwala wa moto Bingu.
Kaya ndangodutsamo sinathyole Nkhwani. This is a free strategy to the CEO who doesnt seem to know that sometimes not speaking tells a bigger story than words.
By the way is Nicholas Dausi still DPP spokesperson or its just lack of discipline by some people!!!

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