President Joyce Banda has said in one year she has been in office after taking over form authotatalian rule of late Bingu wa Mutharika, her administration has repealed most of the oppressive laws that impinged on peoples’ freedoms and rights.
Banda, delivering the State of the National Address at the New Parliament Building in Lilongwe, said repealing of oppressive laws T include Section 46 of the Penal Code which empowered the Minister of Information to ban publications and close media house.
“New media operations are free to start up as my Government has liberalised the issuance of radio and TV licenses based on the quality of their application and not on political considerations. Organisations that were refused licenses can now operate freely without harassment, restrictions and violence against journalists,” asserted Banda.
She said these changes have contributed to Malawi being the country which made the biggest leap in 2013 World Press Index on press freedom.
“As a result of my Government’s actions, Malawi has moved from position 146 in 2012 to position 75 in 2013,” she said.
President Banda said her government is committed to fostering the democratic process, governance, dialogue and rule of law.
Banda said her government “sought to restore” the foundations for good governance, freedom and human rights in Malawi as the underpinnings of the development of the country, both in the short term and in the long term
“Citizens are now able to organise demonstrations without Government interference or violence against them. The January 17th demonstrations organised by Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) are a clear testimony to my government’s commitment to freedom of expression.
“We have also seen tolerance and mutual respect return to Government’s relationships with civil society leaders and organisations, where they are recognised as true partners in Malawi’s development,” Banda said.