Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter is urging journalists in the country to always carry with them valid identify cards following the introduction of 9pm-5am curfew under the recently gazetted Covid-19 containment rules.
Misa Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga says journalists should ensure that they possess and always carry with them a valid Media Council of Malawi (MCM) Accreditation or Employment Identity Card at all times.
“The Covid-19 prevention, containment and management rules stipulate that no person must be found wandering around socially between 9pm and 5am.
“MISA Malawi engaged the Malawi Police Service after noticing that this has potential to affect the work of journalists, especially those who may be working during these hours,” she says.
She says the police have assured Misa Malawi that journalists, by the nature of their work, will be treated as those belonging to the essential services group as long as they have IDs and/or demonstrate proof of work.
Ndanga urges law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure that media freedom, freedom of expression and right to information are safeguarded during the period of implementation of the Covid-19 containment rules.
“We appeal to all journalists to read, understand and strictly adhere to the Covid-19 containment rules and work together with security officers on duty where necessary,” she says.
Ndanga says the media is among essential services under Schedule 7 of the rules and we urge journalists and the media in general to utilize this opportunity to provide accurate and credible information as we all strive to contain the pandemic.
She appealed to media houses to help in fighting fake news around the pandemic and create a positive narrative that gives hope while underscoring the importance of strict adherence to Covid-19 preventive measures.
She says journalists and media houses should also ensure strict observance to all Covid-19 preventive measures and quickly seek medical and psychosocial support when need arises.