Football journalists in Malawi have decided to detach themselves from the existing Sports Writers Association (SWAM) and form their own special grouping called Football Journalists Association (FJA) with the aim of promoting and maintaining a high professional standard among journalists who specialise in football and to serve their interests.
A statement from FJA says an interim committee has been formed that is headed by Joy Ndovi from Nation Publication with Mabvuto Kambuwe from Times Group as the general secretary.
The interim vice-chairperson is Deitrich Frederich of MIJ FM, treasurer is Madalitso Phiri of Capital Radio and regional representatives are Joe Mwase of Zodiak Broadcasting for the Centre and Robert Mbetewa for the North.
Ordinary members are Richard Tiyesi, Garry Chirwa of the Nation, Lifu Litete of MIJ, Williams Gondwa of Times Group, Paul Kamanga, Clement Chinoko of the Nation and Gospel Kanyama of Ufulu.
The communique signed by Kambuwe, says Malawi has close to 200 sports journalists with almost all of them at one point having reported on football and it is against this background that the idea of forming FJA was hatched with the aim of promoting and maintaining a high professional standard among journalists who specialise in football and to serve their interests.
FJA’s objectives are:
- To co-operating with football bodies to encourage improved services in all forms of communications so that the reporting of football shall be objective, reliable, speedy and accurate
- To coordinate and collaborate with development oriented organisations nationally, regionally and internationally
- Co-operate with football organisers so as to ensure that journalists have the best facilities in the covering of events
- Promote social intercourse among its members.
- Strive for improved facilities and working conditions for football journalists
- Deal with matters concerning accreditation of FJA members at football events
- Organise training workshops for its members
- To champion the rights and welfare of football players
Membership for FJA is open to all who practice football journalism at a membership fee of K10 000 per year and the official launch shall be held on December 22 in Mangochi.
The news was received with mixed reaction from some journalists and a hot debate ensured on a WhatsApp forum, FAM Media Connect — that was formed in collaboration with Football Association of Malawi — on which some described FJA as a disgruntled breakaway group.
But others described the development as positive saying it will relieve SWAM of some responsibility and they don’t see any problem of having a beneficial dual membership.
One journalist applauded this initiative, saying FJA should take responsibility of handling press conferences for FAM and all its affiliates such as SULOM and regional football committees.
He observed that a presser by FAM at Mpira Village in Chiwembe attracts a huge gathering of journalists but some of them are not really football writers.
Another observed that if there is an industry that is very easy to join then it is the media, saying at many functions, not just for football but others by the corporate world, there are many people who masquerade as journalists and there is need to rein in this in order to preserve the integrity of the profession.
In an interview, Kambuwe said they noted that there is a big gap in as far as football journalism is concerned and are also following other countries who have a similar body.
“For instance, there is African Football Writers Association as well as the African Sports Writers of which one can have dual membership and they are both very beneficial in their own right.
“We started the idea early this year and from now onwards football journalists should expect an improved standard. We are looking at partnering with several companies.
“Our idea is to strive for improved facilities and working conditions for football journalists. We noted several issues that journalists were struggling to have access to at football matches despite the presence of other bodies. It is a fact that journalists are not respected at match venues so we want to make sure have a good voice.
“We want to set the ball rolling that Malawi should have specialised football journalists. In developed countries, they are specialised that’s why the quality of their stories is good.
FAM’s Competitions and Communication Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said they will first wait for an official interaction with FAJ to enable them appreciate their objectives and map how they will work together.
“FAM will continue to work with SWAM and will continue to facilitate accreditation for their members. It should be noted that some journalists that are not members of SWAM were getting accreditations on their own.
“FJA members will also make separate applications and will be accredited if they fulfil applications procedures,” Zakazaka said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :