Scores of journalists were on Tuesday ordered out of the meeting the Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology, Mark Botomani, held with the management of Airtel Malawi in Lilongwe.
Ironically, officials from the ministry had extended invitations to media houses to send reporters to cover the courtesy call Botomani paid at the mobile phone service provider’s premises at Airtel Complex, which is next to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Headquarters at Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
Everything started very well until a few minutes after the introductions in the conference room when officials from the ministry ordered the media crew to go out and wait at the receiption.
This did not please the journalists, who included two from State-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), who demanded answers from the Botomani’s personal assistant, Kondwani Chitosi, why they had invited the media in the first place.
“Why did you invite us in the first place if we were not supposed to be part of the meeting? How are we going to generate questions for the interviews?” the disappointed journalists fumed.
The maltreated journalists waited for close two hours before they were invited to invite them to interview the minister and the Airtel Malawi managing director Charles Kamoto.
However, thedistressed journalists put their feet down, vowing they would not interview the minister because “we have been tortured more than enough”.
It took senior officials from the mobile phone service provider to apologise that journalists cooled down and changed their mind on their “no interview” stance.
In his remarks, Botomani said he was impressed with the investment Airtel Malawi is making to improve the quality of its services and products in the country.
On the other hand, Kamoto assured government of its commitment to improving the living standards of Malawians through relevant services and products such as mobile money services.