Malawi improves 71 steps on press freedom index 2013

Malawi has been ranked on position 75 from 146 last year on Press Freedom Index 2013 released by Reporters Without Borders showing Malawi has jumped 71 steps.

The ranking has been welcomed by government, saying it calls for celebrations.

Kunkunyu who featured on Sunday Round Table Discussion Forum at Capital Radio said: “Malawi being ranked on position 75 this year should serve as an assurance that we have press freedoms in the country as compared to the past. And this is a celebration for every Malawian not only for the government.”

He said the President Joyce Banda’s government is appreciative on the role of the watchdog role of the media and regard it as a fourth arm of government.

World Press Freedom Day: Malawi journos match
World Press Freedom Day: Malawi journos match

“We understand that the media is the fourth arm of government as you say. Because you are concerned with what is happening in parliament, judiciary even on the executive and you are there to express your concerns on the issues at each level.

“Not only that but also the fact that the media in Malawi has the freedom to inform, educate and to entertain, the only thing that brings in problems is that most journalists when exercising these rights they also fall under temptation of wanting to please others that likely see them being condemned,” he added.

On the President’s failure to sign the Table Mountain Declaration the Misa-Malawi presented to her, Kunkuyu said such an issue needed the Head of State to take time as that would help her assess each and every part of the document for a better handling.

British High Commissioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin said the country needs its media to flourish, saying society should be in no doubt that without a vibrant media, there will not be a vibrant country.

“Malawi needs the media to flourish. It is integral to democracy, development and justice,” said Nevin.

This year’s index Finland was rated the country that respects press freedom the most for the third year in a row.

Syria, Turkenistan, North Korea and Eritrea ranked as the worst four countries for press freedom for the second year in a row.

The index was based on a range of criteria, from legislation to violence against journalists.

Since taking over government following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika last year April, Banda’s administration has  repealed  Section 46 of the Penal Code  which gave powers to a minister to ban any publication and removing value added tax (VAT) on newspapers .

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