Gagging of public hospital spokespersons is retrogressive –Misa Malawi

Media watchdog Misa Malawi has faulted the ministry of health’s for issuing a blanket ban to its public hospital spokespersons commenting on drug crisis in the country, saying the as retrogressive in the wake of advocacy to have access to information legislation.

Magwira: Gagging

Magwira: Gagging

The medicine scarcity has reached unprecedented levels in public hospitals.

This means journalists seeking information on the drug shortage will need to talk to the ministry headquarters in Lilongwe.

Misa Malawi) Chairperson Thom Khanje said the ministry already did a good job by introducing spokespersons at district hospitals and gagging them was like discrediting itself.

“They should find a better way of improving their communication. Perhaps they should learn from the Malawi Police Service which has PROs at district level and they are operating very well. Otherwise, the ministry is defeating decentralisation if it demands that their PROs should always liaise with the National PRO on health issues,” said Khanje.

On social-media Facebook, many condemned the gagging order.

Hastings Jimani, a Zodiak radio reporter, mocked the decision, saying he was walking from Mulanje to Capital Hill in Lilongwe just to get information about Mulanje Hospital.

The ministry is warning the spokespersons that disciplinary action would be taken against those who disregard the order.

The order – contained in a memo titled, ‘Reminder on communication with the media’ written by the ministry’s Principal Secretary MacPhail Magwira on October 19 2015 – came just hours after civil society leaders marched in peaceful protests in Liongwe to force government improve dwindling health services in public hospitals.

National Secretary for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Chris Chisoni, also expressed disapproval with the order, saying gagging the PROs is not in tandem with freedom of expression.

Apart from drug shortages, there is critical shortage of health personnel in most hospitals yet the government withdrew appointemt letters of nearly 300 nurses, citing lack of money.

The ministry says it has decided to gag the hospital spokespersons because some of them gave out wrong information to the public that brought anxiety among people.

The country is facing a huge economic crisis that has forced President Peter Mutharika cancel an important summit in India.

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17 thoughts on “Gagging of public hospital spokespersons is retrogressive –Misa Malawi”

  1. Watson says:

    Journalists are also human beings who are prone to making mistakes hence I support the gagging. Not all Journilists are responsible enough in the way they report some of them go against the ethics of their own work.

  2. peter says:

    Palibe wina yemwe angaletse choonadi kuti chionekere popeza chomwe chimamasula.Bambo Magwira inu ngati mukupeza makhwala chifukwa chamispkho ya a Malawi dziwano kuti abale anu agogo,malume, alongo anu akusowa. makhwala ndi chakudya,ineyo umboni ndilinawo,wwwpeter…

  3. Banda Prince says:

    I rarely post comments through Nyasatimes but I am compelled to do so because of the negative remarks directed to PS Magwira. I am not a civil servant but I have attended the annual SWAp joint review meetings and in the recent one, the PS made it very clearly that there is massive abuse of meagre resources in most of our DHOs and he did not mince words that the long arm of law will one day catch up with them. He even provided evidence to the fact that some DHOs use almost 80% of their monthly funding for paying each other ‘funny’ allowances at the expense of priority areas like paying electricity bills. One DHO is currently owing ESCOM about K18m and yet every month they give each other hefty dubious allowances!!! This country, I bet, will never develop!! So most of the negative comments here are from staff working in DHOs.

  4. Hitto says:

    Magwira is not feet for this volatile ministry. He controls by the iron fist which is not good for the Ministry of Health. These are the sins of Mkondiwa.

  5. Sailota says:

    I dont see anything scary here. If u are realy serious journalists, u can know how things are in health sector even without using PROs. U mean u need a PRO to know that patients are eating once or not at all in many hospitals in our country?

  6. Nebuchadnezzar says:

    Mtsogoleri wadziko lino ndi wa SATANIC,a Malawi tiyembekeze mavuto ochuluka.

  7. gweshe says:

    a mbendera mwaona kulira mumalira kuja mwaziona lero mwatisiya pa mavuto kapena lero munganene chomwe mumalira taonani pitala wa katenga ndalama zo nthandizira amathanyula basi ngwe’gwe ng we ndalama

  8. Roberto says:

    Koma zoti kuzipatala kulibe mankhwala, fuel for ambulances mukuzidziwa?

  9. vitumbiko mwakipuyi says:

    Amagwira mulungu akuona zonsezi…zindikilani kuti chiweluzo chanu chili just around the corner…pamene boma likulakwitsa inu mukuonjeza moto kupanga zinthu zotsutsana ndi chifuniro cha mulungu. Inuyo bambo magwira mukutchuka ndikuzunza anthu mmalo ogwira ntchito muma ministry mu….dziwani kuti moyo wanu ngobwereka bambo ndipo muzasiya wana ndi mkazanu pamoto..la forty likubwera..

  10. Malawians once again to suffer in silence. Kamuzu style

  11. Malawiyano says:

    These are the government reforms which Saulos has brought to the country. Malawi is going 90 steps backwards and ten steps forward , that’s the best DPP government can do as the party in power.

    Malawi has a long way to go , we still need another political revolution to take place otherwise this is a childish learning government . All those who are in this DPP government they never fought for any political change , they just happened to be in government because of the stupid selfishness of an X Prisonal Retired President Elson Bakili Muluzi who wanted to make himself another life president.

    MEC , can you see where you have taken us too ? Malawi is now swimming in the troubled waters.

  12. tan'gatan'ga says:

    Ndichoncho Magwira, alibe nzeru Khaya
    phd anaipeza bwanji!

  13. bondera says:

    The system was good but i can confidently say that you journalists abused this but by engaging each and every jim n jack mumafuna kutola nkhani mpaka kwa ma maid

  14. chatonda says:

    Bad beginning for the new Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume. As for PS Magwira, he is know for bad things all the time . I dont know how he feels. He things he is government himself. That is why he is locked up in offices every ministry he is sent. Shame by bringing the country back to dictatorship. Malawi does not belong to few people but us all. There is no way you can pretend and hide the situation on the ground. Malawi is not closed but open now than ever before. Shame. The media should now dig deeper and tell us the truth about the situation on the ground.

  15. Principal GVH says:

    This only means that problems are not over. We are yet to brace ourselves for yet more drug shortages, meagre funding, pilferages of drugs, stealing of government funds and fuel refunds even by DHO ‘s themselves. Medical stores will continue have stock outs of drugs while shifting the blame on districts

  16. phodo says:

    This is very encouraging. Arrest the mouths of all the district hospitals who were murmuring over trivial matters. Now the country is just quite as it used to be. Reforms are now working wonders. Bravo baba mathanyula ngw’engw’engw’e.

  17. Patriot says:

    Malawi is heading back to 1972 with Dausi bringing back Kamuzu tactics in this Demonic Political Party.

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