Malawi commits to media freedom as UK warns countries to pay diplomatic price

Malawi government through Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila has made a pledge to ensure that there is enabling environment for media freedom, diversity and independence.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt speaks during the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, Britain July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Misa-Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga at  the media freedom conference

Kasaila was part of the delegates at the Global Conference for Media Freedom held in London this week.

The media freedom conference was hosted by Britain with the Canadian government and attended by delegations from more than 100 countries which included Foreign Ministers and diplomats.

Apart from Minister Kasaila, Malawi had delegates from the media who included Misa-Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga,  journalists Thom Chiumia, Kondwani Munthali  and Pilirani Phiri.

Kasaila attended the conference aimed to defend media freedom from restrictive practices by governments, encourage participants to develop plans to legislate for a free press, help improve journalists’ safety and counter disinformation.

He said the administration of President Peter Mutharika “commits to ensure there is media freedom as enshrined the Constitution of Malawi.”

In her comment, Misa Malawi chairwoman Teresa Ndanga, said the conference has shed the light on areas that both governments and the media need to continue working on.

“Freedom of the media should not be handled as a gift to journalists. Governments have an obligation that they establish and sustain a good environment for the practice of journalism because that is the foundation for a free society, good governance and a gateway to development,” she told Nyasa Times at  the conference  held in a building in London’s docklands that used to house the UK’s Daily Mail’s printing presses but has since been converted to a clubbing and event space.

“On the other hand, those of us in the media need to demonstrate that we can self-regulate. That we can report professionally,” Ndanga added.

During a plenary which Malawi Foreign Minister also attended, the British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt warned that  countries that restrict media freedom must be made to pay a diplomatic price.

“If we act together we can shine a spotlight on abuses and impose a diplomatic price on those who’d harm journalists or lock them up for doing their jobs,” Hunt said, without elaborating on the measures that could be taken.

Hunt said he hoped the event would become annual and announced £600,000 a year of extra funding to provide support and training to journalists to countries including Malawi.

“Media freedom is not a western value but a universal value. It frees a society from the abuse of power,” he said.

He said countries around the world , including Malawi, will be asked to have a national action plan to defend media freedom and that a task force will be giving reports annually at UN summits.

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Michael Ndlovu
Guest
Michael Ndlovu

Zimbabwe abducts, torture and kill its citizens which include journalists, why does Britain host its foreign minister and delegates? Why do they turn a blind eye?.

Mwe'ene
Guest
Mwe'ene

So according to Hunt, ganging up on those disagreeing with the western way of doing things exerts the most effective punishment. Apparently, it’s their way or the highway: no middle of the road approach?
Neocolonialism indeed.
As Britain loses significance among the major powers, it seeks to exert ruthless punishment to the weaker
nations, apparently. Is that really the way to maintain political relevance in the world, by promoting Western hegemony?

Njolo mpilu
Guest
Njolo mpilu

Azunngu amangotingana nkumatiseka kuti these niggers are good in talking not in acting.

Freedom Fighter
Guest

Humble prayer to all donors and diplomatic missions in Malawi and specially to our biggest bilateral partners UK, please help us Malawians at large who are totally discontent with this illegally occupied presidency. We are tired of the DPP, and do not want them in power any more. In 2014 we kept quiet as we prefer to be peaceful as it’s our main quality known on the continent. The opposition n public at large knew that those elections too, were rigged but since dpp had cleaverly rigged those election, leaving no trace or evidence for the opposition to react, and… Read more »

Mandado@147
Guest

Media freedom blind carbon copy to MBC KKKKKKK Presenters please wear blue.

Mbwiye
Guest
Mbwiye

Mudakanika nkhani ya jamal khashogi just because of the oil that uk gets from saudi arabia and in return the military that you sell to the saudis. Uk be serious on media freedom otherwise you put harsh conditions on poor countries just because you get nothing from these countries. The fourth arm of the government be cautious when dealing with western and asian countries. They are double faced.