Mutharika calls for an ethical Malawi media

President Arthur Peter Mutharika has called on the media in the country to uphold to their professional ethics in their work while government continues to respect their independence as the fourth arm of a democracy.

Mutharika posing with media managers

Mutharika posing with media managers

Mutharika and media managers

Mutharika and media managers

The President said this on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace when he met media owners in the country who paid him a courtesy call to deliberate crucial issues that affect the two institutions.

Media independence,  President Mutharika said- remains the bedrock of democracy just as is the case with a responsible media that adheres to its own ethics.

“In a mature democracy, I believe the media should police its ethics and discipline itself. You must be your own watchdog. I know that the media in Malawi does not write about itself; it does not criticise itself. As I speak, a lot of organisations (including international organisations) are worried about the conduct and integrity of some reporters but there is no reporter who can make that a headline – just to illustrate the point about responsibility and accountability.

“ But the media cannot be policing everyone, holding everyone accountable without policing itself, and holding itself accountable. This is a challenge we need to resolve,” said the President.

Commenting on the now-controversial Access To Information (ATI) Bill, President Mutharika promised the nation (not only the media) that it will be passed into law once all inconsistencies have been rectified.

However, he was quick to mention that the bill should not be used as a bargain tool with his government by tying it to aid as donors have been doing.

“I have even noted that our development partners are using it as another conditionality of donor aid although it was not the reason why they stopped aid. Other countries without this Bill are receiving budgetary support. Let me repeat that we are not going to pass the Bill to appease anyone. We will make this Bill into Law because I believe it is good for the country; and because it is good for access to information to be legally protected and regulated”.

He further asked the media to self-police themselves if their profession is to maintain its sacred nature.

“I know you have functioning systems and structures in place. You all have very brilliant policies in your media houses. But are they effectively followed in your newsrooms?,” he queried.

Adding: “You have the Media Council of Malawi and MISA Malawi. But do your regulatory frameworks tighten media ethics effectively? We don’t want Government to interfere with your day to day work, but we want a body like Media Council to function smoothly and effectively as the Law Society of Malawi or the Medical Council of Malawi. Government has the right to expect a responsible media that takes both our democracy and development forward”.

The Malawi leader reminded the media that the narrative of Malawi depends on how the media itself presents its content to the masses; both contemporary and future generations.

“One major reason why we are slow to develop in Malawi is our collective mindset, the way we think! Actually, we don’t have as serious problems as we think. Our first problem is that we are the
problem.

“We need a revolution of the mindset. There will never be any change unless we change. And I know that the media has the capacity to change our mindset. You have this weight of national duty on your shoulders,” noted the President.

The meeting came at the back of a statement issued by media owners some months ago in which they urged government to look into the ATI issue with urgency.

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15 thoughts on “Mutharika calls for an ethical Malawi media”

  1. APM2 says:

    Change of mindset? Oh yes that is pretty certain APM. However, I feel u should be the first to change. stop taking Malawians for a ride. Remember if the head is sick the whole body follows suit.

  2. Luwazi says:

    Otherwise don’t publish anything critical of Mathanyula and his boys because that is not ethical…….. Kikikikikikikiki. Freedom of speech is my birth right Mr President!!! I refuse to e muzzled.

  3. Non sense says:

    A little ashamed when my former student, Mandala Mambulasa was mambulasered and outclassed on legal prowess by one Prof at Law and one lawyer Samuel Tembenu. Of coz I am not celebrating on his misery coz this field , law, is usually stupid in nature. Too many theories and subjectiveness!

  4. John Black says:

    His Excellency’s approach in his speech makes it clear he is uncomfortable with the principle of Media Freedom. This sounds like bad news, but the upside is: considering how His Excellency is performing, it is very much the job of the media to push him out of his comfort zone. Get him to walk the talk and go for business unusual instead of what he has been doing so far.

  5. munthu wapakale says:

    Charity begins from home. Bro don’t you think you need to say the example by making public the list of names of mk577 billion which you and your dead brother stole. Be brave show us your bowls.

  6. The Partriot says:

    Yes we need a revolution of our mindset your excellency! We need to change the way 2e appoint people to boards , embassies and other influential positions! We should not use contracts and positions or trips to appease our relatives or homeboys at the expense of all Malawians. Food for thought , your excellence.
    The change you need to see your excellence starts with you and your cabiinet or Party.

  7. Duwa says:

    Sorry for all people saying about you,forgive them and wish them good wishes.Do your professional work to develop this poor country.Peolple will hate you but don’t revange only God will judge them.Malawians learn how to respect each other and learn to be patience because even God cannot answer your prayer at the same time you have asked but you wait.my fellow Malawians try to work hard by your own not rely on someone’s money because will hate each president you will be elected.I love you all, May God bless you all!!

  8. MBC Malawi says:

    Pitala ndi mbuzi akuona ngati tidaiwara atakwiyira Teleza Ndanga waku ZODIAK kumamutenga ngat mwana wake uku akumenyesa Tebulo pano akuti wakumana nawo kukambirana nawo.Now its new Malawi sitikumaiwara kapena kugona.Malawi adadzuka kale

  9. Dwambazi says:

    I refuse to be muzzled

  10. Man of God says:

    Mr presdent, I thought you once said donors are tired everywhere and Malawi couldn’t be an exception? And here you are saying some countries with no ATI laws are receiving aid. From whom now? You even said we must forget about aid and here you are crying for it. What an inconsistent old professor! You really can’t cheat everyone every time. Not so, Mr presdent? Mwagwa nayotu. Osamangochita, fwenfwe!

  11. Mwadaya ma banzi a blue. says:

    How about MK50,000 to silence you, did you get any of the hash money. Did they serve you blue pastrries

  12. Sapitwa says:

    What revolution? Change yourself first to lead others into the desired change u want us to be

    1. wa ku Mitchesi kujaaaaa!!!! says:

      Sapitwa walemba zimennezi?

  13. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Boy! APM is right on. Wandigonjesa baasi (Clearly, his analytical skills set him apart, way apart, from leaders of the other political parties.)
    No threats; shame to many NGOs and even the media, for adopting to threaten serious action when their arbitrarily imposed “deadlines” are not met.
    APMs torrent of pithy comments should be taken seriously by the media; they have an important role to play, as the forth estate, in our democracy. Sure each media “house” can align itself with certain political philosophy, but not in crass fashion the way we know of some of them.
    The inconsistency in some some foreign funding bodies, in singling out Malawi in the area of this bill, and by tying the bill to funding when they had already cut us off, is rightly called out by APM. Angotitola “heavy” (seems like they have found a helpless boy, in Malawi, to bully mercilessly, and without consideration of the consequences, no less)
    And APM’s point about the need, or even necessity, for Malawians to change our mindset is apropo. If the media think this does not apply to them, as organizations, they are WROING, WRONG, WRONG.
    Finally, just an observation and a question: There are only 2 women out of the 19 media bosses shown here. Not even close in representing the gender makeup of our population. Where is the consideration for fair representation?
    Apparently, we do need an “APM” in that group to promote women and others, like people with physical and other disabilities. This is 2016, abale inu!

  14. Njolinjo says:

    Fear of the unknown Mr president.

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