Malawi media persuade Mutharika on Table Mountain Agreement, Information bill

Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday hosted journalists from both print, electronic  and online media houses at official Sanjika Palace in Blantyre where he was persuaded  to  consider signing the ‘Table Mountain Declaration’ that urges governments in Africa to abolish “insult laws” and set free press high on the agenda.

Kasunda:  Freedom of expression and the media is the oxygen  of democracy and lifeline of good governance

Kasunda: Freedom of expression and the media is the oxygen of democracy and lifeline of good governance

During the presidential interface, journalists through their media bodies Media Institute Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter and Media Council of Malawi (MCM) took turns bringing penitent issues which affect the media fraternity.

MISA – Malawi chairperson, Anthony Kasunda started his speech by asking the President to lead the media in observing a one minute silence in respect of Capital FM journalist Mrs Cecilia Kuyewawa, who passed away on Monday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

Kasunda expressed concern over the behaviour of Malawi Police Service who are fond of beating up journalists while performing their duty.

“I would like to commend your government for recognizing the importance of a free media in promoting and safeguarding democracy. Your government came out strongly to condemn Police Officers who beat up a journalist recently and warned that all those who intimidate and beat up journalists for merely doing their work,” said Kasunda.

Kasunda also requested the President to sign the Declaration of Table Mountain; open up the national broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and ensure that Malawi has an enabling law on Access to Information.”

Kasunda said the Declaration of Table Mountain calls upon African governments to respect and uphold freedom of the press by among others abolishing ‘insult’ and criminal defamation laws which continue to be applied to harass arrest and/or imprison media practitioners in most African countries. “MISA Malawi believes strongly in the fundamental role the media plays in building and sustaining democracy, but is at the same time, mindful that this can only be achieved in tolerant and democratic societies that cherish and respect local and international protocols that uphold the freedom, independence and safety of the media and media practitioners,” he said.

Misa-Malawi outgoing chair said the country’s statutes still have repressive laws enacted during the colonial period.

“Some of these laws, Your Excellency, include the Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Act which actually quotes a fine in Pound Sterling and not in Malawi Kwacha supporting the urgency with which legal reforms must take place in Malawi, 50 years after independence; the Official Secrets Act (1913); the Printed Publications Act (1947); and the Censorship and Control of Entertainment Act. Your Excellency, we feel it is important to take a critical look at laws that negate on the Constitutional guarantee to free speech and media freedom as provided for under Sections 35 and 36 of the Constitution,” said Kasunda.

Kasunda also asked the president to assist in passing Access to Information Bill as promised in the DPP manifesto.

The President promised that he will look into matter as raised by MISA Malawi Chair.

Mutharika, who was in jovial mood, then opened the dance floor alongside senior government officials who were later joined by the media.

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6 thoughts on “Malawi media persuade Mutharika on Table Mountain Agreement, Information bill”

  1. Malopa says:

    I don’t understand how APM was in a jovial mood with the current state of affairs in Malawi. May be he was drunk!!

  2. Wamandasi says:

    Never trust a journalist Mr President.

    They are corrupt hypocrites and unreliable. No sense of objectivity. Their main duty is to impress white people and get stupid funding for stupid activities. They are forever mercenaries who go with the highest bidder. The highest bidder is white people. In my imagination you will realize. Almost all activism in poor Africa has white man’s support. We are not independent because of these western messengers.

    If a journalist is your friend sleep with one eye open

  3. osuma says:

    No.2 uli ndi vuto lokathula ndi sizasi, iwe umagoganiza za maliro mwina kwanu onse anatha eti! ngati ulibe fundo osangukhala bwanji ino sinthawi yandale ai ngati munagwa nayo munagwa basi, shut up ur mouth!

  4. Dingase says:

    Kasunda spoke sense than what the so called prof. Chijere chirwa said. In malawi some titles seem to be meangless thus why the country do not propers even if we may chose a prof to be a president.

  5. Akilly 2 says:

    Bwampini ali ndi vuto lapakhoxi limited tym toyankhulira pa air ndi 15mins n’chifukwa chake amayankhula ngati akuthawa moto there was `go deeper’ type of saying in his speech, maliro enanso awa!

  6. chiletso says:

    I am deeply shocked about the death of Cecilia Kuyewawa. My condolences to Laston and his family. May her soul rest in peace.

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