Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has warned that Northern part of Malawi will continue plunging into serious social economic challenges if journalists fail to take elected officers to task into delivering what they pledged during their manifestos.
MEC Deputy Chief Elections Officer(DCEO) Harris Potani made the warning on Friday in Mzuzu when he closed a three-day training workshop for journalists drawn from various parts of the region to hone them with ethics and other founder mental journalistic and electioneering values ahead of the Malawi tripartite elections to be held on May 20 next year.
Potani said with most journalists still affected with poverty, they become excited with cheque book journalism where sources palm oil them with money and other basics in order to write good of them when they fail to deliver what they promised their electorates.
He said that tendency has helped the region lag behind in terms of developments because journalists who are the fourth arm of government can no longer bite because they have been weakened.
“North needs better roads, and other basic developments so you will be failing your duties if you lean on cheque book journalism“ he said.
He said such journalism is dangerous because the people they serve can no longer trust them since they canot expose corruption including other abuses as their job demands.
Moses Mkandawire of the Church and society including lead facilitator Dr. Levi Zeleza Manda said while fat allowances, expensive accommodation, and other good things that journalists are privileged to, does not mean they should forget their job.
Meanwhile, Mzimba radio projects director and Bureau Chief Lance Ngulube appealed to journalists to exercise their professionalism if they dignity is to be served.
MEC public Relations officer Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the workshop was organized to remind journalists of their roles and equip them with new skills on how best to cover the elections.
One of the journalists Fostina Mknadawire hailed MEC for the training saying it was an eye opener.