Malawi government through the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Civic Education on 3 May, which is World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) released a statement in which it expressed commitment in strengthening media freedom for the good of the nation.
In the statement which was signed by its line minister, Patricia Kaliati, said the Peter Mutharika government wishes the media well as they commemorate World Press Freedom Day for the year 2016.
Government recognised media as a main tool in the development of the country.
“We recognise the fundamental roles of media in developing our country through such undertakings as supporting Government in fighting corruption, exposing crime and agenda setting for
our progress i.e. breaking the circle of food security, engaging men and boys in the promotion of girls and women, keeping girls in school, reduction of Gender Based Violence and population control.
“We believe that the media can only participate meaning fully in supporting development if they are given press freedom,” reads the statement in part before concluding with remarks that no journalist will be arrested or stopped from professionally doing his or her job during this administration.
But in an interview, MISA Malawi Chairperson, Thom Khanje, has welcomed the statement, especially the commitment that no journalist will be arrested by this administration but has asked Government to make media freedom permanent and guaranteed,
“We, however, appeal to the government to make press freedom permanently guaranteed in Malawi by repealing insult laws that remain in our statutes and threaten media freedom. The media should not depend on the whims of the government of the day for its freedom. This should be legally binding for every government to follow.”
Khanje has also asked the Government to withdraw the revised version of ATI and replace it with the earlier one.
“We also repeat our call for government to withdraw the adulterated ATI bill as gazetted and bring a proper bill as agreed by stakeholders who participated in its drafting for 11 years since 2004,” Said