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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Talk to us Madam President

Malawian media joins the rest of the World on May 3 to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. The Malawi media profession, especially private media will be commemorating the day with apprehension. There are no guarantees of Press Freedom, not as of yet.
Malawi is at crossroads, some changed since President Joyce Banda took oath of Office. Fuel is available, fear of beatings, office and home torching and some ridiculous claims that JB was paying off the media to tarnish the image of Government may have temporarily came to halt.
But all the repressive systems remain in place.
I saw it at the airport when the President arrived from Liberia and South Africa.
The same faces they hated the Nation, www.mwnation.com with untold venom, today have joined Government- some in Cabinet and some are MPs others are merely party officials.
The same Ministers who stopped advertising in private media, today remain in office and I do not believe they have changed. They are waiting for the right time to continue inflicting pain on us.
The former ruling party officials who hated the private media and the parliamentarians that pushed section 46 of the penal code, today want to pretend to be democrats or that they love Malawi media.
I will speak out for all to note, I will cry out louder to President Joyce Banda and Her Cabinet to make the right pronouncements regarding freedom of the press in Malawi.
I will ask her to walk the talk of transparency. Malawi media is not supposed to pick stories on the impact of Malawians in International media. I thought the last story was to be the one on the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. I thought we buried that culture of hiding information with him.
But at the Kamuzu International Airport when she returned, Protocol officials only allowed Government owned media on the red carpet to ask questions. I thought I had last seen it with the demise of Bingu.
The former administration trusted foreign media than local, only to rush back to us when the foreign media gave their own account.
The President spoke to Guardian in the UK what she could not tell some of us on what happened after the President died. I got the bits of the story but no one could confirm on or off record on what happened. I took the risk, but Government was mum. I feel cheated to see my Head of State confirming the same to a foreign media.
The same with the story of devaluation. Why should Malawians hear it from foreign media, when the matter has been debated locally and extensively. I thought she is Malawian President?
We will celebrate May 3 this year not sure if there is real change, not sure if we have an administration that equally trusts us as a fourth estate.
Malawi media has worked tirelessly to defend our democracy, gave voice to the oppressed.
We are not demanding favours, we are a professional media, but we demand equal access to any office as granted to foreign media.
Talk to the local media Madam President, or nothing would have changed from the yetser years practice
Happy Press Freedom Day all Media People!

1 comment:

Atcheya said...

Kho, though am not a media practitioner, I agree with u entirely. The president has started on a very bad note in terms of media interaction; she has already forgotten that when the cabinet ministers were planning the 'coup' it was the Malawi media that came to her rescue, not the MBC she now seems to be relying upon!!