Lilongwe based journalists on Friday opted not to receive any transport refunds from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which had courted them to a workshop in Salima.
The journalists, invited through a member of the Bwaila Media Club (BMC) to the ACB workshop on Operations, refused to pocket K1,600 to Salima for minibus and K400 bicycle taxi (kabaza) from Kamuzu Road to Lakeside Hotel.
They however received K34,000 for the two nights out.
One journalist said ACB through the contact asked for valid receipts to be used for transport refunds. He wondered how Kabanza operators would issue such a receipt.
“I think it is more of how most institutions underrate journalists than other professions. Would they do the same to lawyers and doctors? It’s about time we lived up and are treated to our billing,” he said. He said others had used their personal vehicles and it was an insult to be refunded such a figure.
The Journalists Union of Malawi (Juma) responding to a Nyasa Times interview on the matter said it is pathetic that not even a bus was arranged to take the participants from Salima boma to Lakeside Hotel.
“We are talking of safety here. Riding kabanza such a long distance has a lot of risks. We know how busy and also narrow that road can be, sharing kabanza and cars. Also how was the invitation made? It should have been official letters describing e everything about the workshop including logistics.
“In our view, however, ACB should have cleared indicated this and it was up to employers to come in and ensure the travelling safety of their staff. ACB should also learn to respect the profession. What quality of coverage would they expect from frustrated journalists?
“Institutions must recognise the great contributions journalists make to the country’s development. Risking their lives cannot be condoned. They deserve better. Journalists must not be abused in any way within and outside their duty stations,” said M’theto Lungu, president of Juma.
Juma promotes better work rights of journalists and safety and work hazards is one of the areas of its interest.
ACB public relations officer Egritta Ndala could not be reached for comment.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :