Information minister warns Malawi media professionals against ‘fake news’

Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Mark Botomani, has warned media professionals in the country against the risk of “fake  news,” calling on them to comply with rules of professionalism so to be in the service of the profession and preserve the social cohesion.

Botomani after tour of Times Media is seen with Leonard Chikadya the CEO

Botomani said the media professionals should not only be  required to provide accurate, reliable and sourced news, they also must be cautious and prevent the trap of “fake news”

The minister made the call when he toured  Times Group and  Nation Publications Limited (NPL) head offices in Blantyre as part of his familiarisation tour of establishments under his jurisdiction.

Botomani appreciated the good work the mainstream media was doing in keeping Malawians updated with current affairs issues while also contributing to the national development.

He advised the news organisations to focus on developmental journalism.

The minister said the media plays a crucial role in advancing developmental agenda of the country by among others, encouraging the citizenry to effectively participate in activities that will accelerate development.

“Media houses must at all cost strive to be objective, fair and factual. My plea to the two institutions and of course all media houses is that they should always resist fake and negative stories,” said Botomani.

The Minister said the tour was an important undertaking as it accorded him an opportunity to better understand operations of media houses and learn some of the challenges faced and, where possible, provide a solution.

“Many issues came out during our interaction and some of them are heavy tax on materials used in producing newspapers, dwindling buying powers of the daily papers and lack of adverts. As a minister responsible, I have assured them that my door is open and I have taken note of their concerns,” he said.

Botomani has since promised to continue providing policy direction to media houses in the country and ensure that they operate in a safer and conducive environment.

The minister also promised to fight for the operationalization of the Access to Information (ATI) law which he described as an important tool for journalists.

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