Misa Malawi tells Chakwera to tolerate criticism: State House weekly briefings credibility damaged over pre-approved questions

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter has challenged the Tonse Alliance government to be tolerant to critical voices and also not turn State House Weekly Briefings into public relations functions and  described as uncalled for prior approval by State House of questions from the journalists.

State House Director of Communications Sean Kampondeni briefs members of during the Weekly Brief  after prior approval of questions
Ndanga: MISA Malawi is concerned that the Chakwera  administration and its supporters have, in this very short time, taken actions that are aimed at reducing media space and freedoms

According to Misa Malawi, government should be providing Malawians with information for transparency and accountability and champion media freedom.

The media watchdog said prior approval by State House of questions for the weekly briefings is uncalled for.

“While this may have been done to allow for preparations by those who would respond, we have reports that questions considered ‘critical’ are removed, thus turning the weekly briefings into public relations functions and not a two-way platform of engagement between the media and the presidency. On the same note, it is worrying that some journalists and media houses have been struggling to access the briefings,” Misa said.

In a statement signed by its chairperson Teresa Ndanga and titled “Gains and losses for the Media Freedom, Access to Information under the Tonse Adminstartion”, Misa, among others, applauds government for operationalizining Access to Information (ATI) law after 17 years of advocacy work, opening up State House and introducing the weekly press briefings.

“But while we celebrate these milestones, MISA Malawi is concerned that the administration and its supporters have, in this very short time, taken actions that are aimed at reducing media space and freedoms,” reads the statement in part.

Misa Malawi catalogues media violations under the Chakwera rule.

It noted that there is cyberbullying of Nation Publications Limited (NPL) journalists Suzgo Chitete and its managing editor Ephraim Munthali following a story by the newspaper on EU’s budget support to Malawi and Munthali’s opinions in his weekly column ‘Cut the Chaff’ which appears in the Weekend Nation newspaper.

“The attackers, who have not hidden the fact that they are supporters of the Tonse Alliance Administration, have cowardly launched their onslaught of the journalists under pseudo Facebook accounts,” said Misa.

The media watchdog said some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) insiders have been writing Chitete to warn him of what was being planned against him for writing articles deemed critical of the Chakwera administration.

“Some cabinet ministers have also been calling and threatening journalists after publication of stories deemed to be critical of the Tonse Alliance Administration,” Misa said.

Of course journalists at Nation’s rival company, Daily Times are safe as the publication is pro-MCP.

The organisation also stated that the recent closure of privately-owned Galaxy FM by the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) reportedly over unsettled city rates is worrying especially as some defaulters are spared.

“MISA Malawi does not condone default on city rates, but the best approach was to engage the management of Galaxy FM and resolve the issue through mutual business negotiations.

Ndanga therefore calls on the Tonse Alliance Administration to correct the wrongs, stating that people gave them the mandate to rule the country on trust that they would deliver on its promises, including being more tolerant to the critical voices, empowering citizens with information with which they can use to hold power to account and championing media freedom.

“2021 grants the Tonse Administration another chance to demonstrate that the campaign rhetoric is to be translated to demonstrable action.”

The institute also urge the leadership to thrive to “inspire co-existence amongst people with different opinions” so that supporters of the administration do not wield power to victimize those presumed to be without that same power.

 

 

ardon

 

As part of Christmas and New Year celebrations for this year, the Malawi Leader has pardoned 787 prisoners including, well behaved and some who were in for pardonable offences.

 

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BornForTheSmoke
BornForTheSmoke
6 months ago

MCP back to its old behaviour. Asatiyese. This is not 1964. Malawians will not stand by and watch them turn this nation into a dictatorship again.

Khima
Khima
6 months ago

rating: 15% – Pull Up Your Socks.

Alungwana
Alungwana
6 months ago

It’s so painful that the government is going in this direction.
People expected something different from this.
The DPP was dislodged and dislocated because of these issues.
If the Tonse is to stay, please do something.

Litshowa
6 months ago

Kaya

Limma
Limma
6 months ago

Press Briefing – a fabricated machinery to allow Apongozi a slice of the loot.

African child, ukuona?

Kudya katatu patsiku
Kudya katatu patsiku
7 months ago

Just discontinue the nonsensical weekly press waffle.They serve no purpose whatsoever.
.

Ajijo
Ajijo
7 months ago

Press briefings are just there to have the in law get employed so he can share the loot. By the way, does he have the qualifications for the post he is holding or it just my in law look after my child.

Gee
Gee
7 months ago

I doubt if one of the ministers threatening is not Sidik Mia, Chimwendo Banda and Mkaka, am smelling a cat here

Gas Machine head
Gas Machine head
6 months ago
Reply to  Gee

Its actually Mkaka

Patrick Phiri
Patrick Phiri
7 months ago

Unfortunately, minister of information is an MCP outsider. He cannot report these concerns to Chakwera because he wants to keep his job. It should take the general public to act and show the disgusting behaviour of these barbaric ruling mafia. On the other hand, the police being led by a chewa, the public should not expect improvements.

Patrick Phiri
Patrick Phiri
7 months ago

True MCP cruelty exposed too soon. Next is disappearance of journalists.

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