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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Watson
Guest

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.

peter
Guest

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…

Banda Prince
Guest
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… Read more »
Hitto
Guest

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.

Sailota
Guest

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?

Nebuchadnezzar
Guest

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

gweshe
Guest

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

Roberto
Guest

Koma zoti kuzipatala kulibe mankhwala, fuel for ambulances mukuzidziwa?

vitumbiko mwakipuyi
Guest

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..

mgonapamuhanya
Guest

Malawians once again to suffer in silence. Kamuzu style

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