As Malawi finalizes preparation for the hosting of the 41st Ordinary Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) meeting of Heads of States and Governments, the Director of Information in the Ministry Of Information, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, has appealed to journalists to provide positive coverage to the meetings.
Mtumodzi made the sentiments on the sidelines of a three day media training aimed at equipping journalists in Malawi about SADC regional integration agenda, and how best to report during the meeting.
The training was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with funding from GIZ.
Mtumodzi said they want to strengthen the media capacity on various issues in regards to promoting regional integration and development aspirations of SADC member states.
He said they expect to see journalist becoming experts on issues of SADC regional integration and how best to cover the upcoming meeting.
“We want the media to assist in the success of the upcoming 41st Ordinary SADC summit of heads of state and government and Malawis SADC chairmanship for the 2021-2022,” said Mtumodzi.
In his remarks, Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) executive director, Dr. Munetsi Mudakufamba, said Malawi, being the incoming chairperson of the summit, will have an important responsibility to make sure that the regional integration agenda is spearheaded over the next 12 months; hence, the media needs also to be part of the process.
Mudakufamba said he expects that the media will help in sensitizing the rural masses on SADC agenda after noting that more people seem not conversant with SADC ideologies.
“Most of the people are not aware of the opportunities they can obtain through regional integration and are not interested to in SADC and its potential, hence the training should help the media to be able to write positives issues on regional integration,” explained Mudakufamba.
One of the participants and Maravi Post Country Manager, Lloyd M’bwana, hailed the government for organizing the training, saying it is the first time the government and SADC decided to engage the media managers and reporters on such high profile regional summit.
“The media training on of SADC summit which Malawi will host is timely to understand fully the national’s integration agenda, the orientation especially on media managers and editors gives a leeway to get insights on critical issues to do with SADC operations that we always give a priority in our daily news,” said M’bwana.
Robert Kalindiza, a senior reporter at the State-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporations (MBC) said he has gained adequate information from the training to enable him to educate and inform the masses about the benefits and opportunities of belonging to a shared community of southern Africa
“We have also learnt in the majority of cases, SADC citizens who are primary beneficiary of the integration agenda are broadly unware of the opportunity for socio-economic improvement and poverty eradication that can be obtained through regional integration and as such, they are hardly interested in SADC and its potential. As result this has limited wider participation and critical engagement on policy matters relating to regional affairs and our reports will help change the mindset of how people think of SADC,” said Kalindiza.
During the SADC meeting scheduled for the 6th to the 9th of August, President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is expected to become the next chairperson taking over from Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi.
The training workshop attracted 40 journalists from 20 national radio and TV stations and five community radio stations.
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