The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi) Chapter is disturbed with ruling People’s Party (PP) deputy secretary general Ireen Chikuni for suggesting to government to stop advertising in the private media because they are critical to President Joyce Banda.
Chikuni speaking at a presidential function held in Ndirande Township, Blantyre on Sunday said government should consider withdrawing advertisement from some media houses.
Taking a swipe at independent media outlet, she threatened that the ruling party will deal with some journalists who write or broadcast what she called “insults to President Joyce Banda”.
According to Chikuni, the private media has been writing bad things about the President almost on daily basis instead of reporting on good things.
MISA Malawi on Monday reacted in a statement, saying it does not only find these words disappointing but also retrogressive considering the strides the country has made to entrench the culture of democracy.
The media watchdog said elements such as Madam Chikuni, who get excited on a political podium to please their master, are a danger to a democratic Malawi.
“Madam Chikuni needs to be reminded that the Republican Constitution guarantees media freedom and freedom of expression in case she has forgotten and that as an organisation, Misa-Malawi will always strive to ensure that media freedom is defended from overzealous politicians such as her” says Anthony Kasunda, chairperson of Misa Malawi.
Kasunda said no amount of intimidation and threats will divert the media in the country from its critical role of being a watchdog for society.
“People who contest for public positions should be ready and open to public scrutiny. The media in Malawi will not relent in holding those in public offices accountable to the people of Malawi.
“MISA Malawi would like to remind Madam Chikuni, and other party zealots who share this type of thinking, that some media houses and practitioners suffered during the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government because they were seen as sympathisers of President Joyce Banda when she was embattled Vice President of the country. It is very unfortunate that the same media houses and practitioners are attacked like this now that Banda is the President,”said Kasunda in the statement.