The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has warned its stringers to desist from taking part in any political affairs and from posting remarks or materials on the social media that can compromise their neutrality during their coverage of the forthcoming 2014 tripartite elections.
MEC Commissioner Bertha Simwaka made the call today, Wednesday, at the official opening ceremony of a training workshop for the reporters in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
“Be cautious of the social media. You are not allowed to express an opinion on behalf of MEC. We have our own mechanism of dealing with such matters as these,” Simwaka said.
“Let me remind you that MEC is an independent and non-partisan organization and we do not take sides. We also expect you as members of this family to do the same. You will cover political rallies but we do not want you to participate in their affairs,” she said.
“The MEC in partnership with MISA Malawi, the Media Council of Malawi and all media houses in the country came up with a media code of conduct. This code of conduct also applies to the social media.
“I would urge you, that while under the employment of MEC you desist from posting remarks or materials on the social media that can compromise your neutrality as a journalist and also as an employee of MEC,” she said.
She added: “ There is high expectation from the Commission from you. We expect to see your articles in the papers and on the radio often.”
The commission has this year accredited at least 40 stringers to cover the electoral process countrywide.
Malawi is expected to hold its first tripartite elections on 20th May, 2014 where citizens are to elect the President, Members of Parliament and Councillors.–MEC Stringer