Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday promised to be more media-friendly during the meeting with journalists which the President hosted at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre pledging government’s support for freedom of press so that media practitioners are working in a conducive environment.
The Malawi leader said since he ascended to the Office of President, his government has not witnessed any arrests of journalists while on duty.
“As such, I must, therefore, assure you that my government will not arrest anyone who executes his or her task within the principles of law of the land, fairness and honesty,” Mutharika said
The President said he is not bothered by negative reports that he reads in various columns in the newspapers and online Nyasa Times since he respect media freedoms.
“I have seen, heard, read your articles though sometimes I get frustrated with some commentary columns. However, I encourage you to criticise me when I am wrong and support me when am doing well because I believe that no person can be right all the time,” he said.
Added the President: “It is, therefore, necessary to note that though media, civil society organizations, religious leaders and government have different roles to play, we must work in collaboration to spearhead national development.”
Mutharika said he used to write in various newspapers when he was young and urged the media to be professional all the time and work within the perimeters of law.
During the interface, Mutharika urged the media to open the new chapter in as far as media relationship with government is concerned.
President Mutharika also shared a number of reforms which his administration was undertaking aimed at unlocking various challenges being experienced in the country.
Journalists through their media bodies Media Institute Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter and Media Council of Malawi (MCM) took turns bringing penitent issues which affect the media fraternity.
He also said Malawians that they should not be worried with the security lapse ,saying his government has devised sufficient measures aimed at addressing the problem.
Mutharika warned thugs that “your days are numbered.”
The President was flanked at the high table by Media Council of Malawi chairperson Prof Wiseman Chijere Chirwa, Secretary to the Ministry of information Chimwemwe Banda, Minister of information Kondwani Nankhumwa and Chief Secretary George Mkondiwa.
Media Institute for Southern Africa-Misa Malawi Chapter Chairperson, Anthony Kasunda, described the meeting as a clear indication that government recognised the significant role the media play in all spheres of development.
Kasunda, therefore, appealed to the government to consider opening up national broadcaster, MBC, and speed up the enactment of Access to Information Bill as well as endorsement of the Table Mountain Declaration.
Mutharika pleaded for media practitioners’ patience assuring that he would look into all the issues that were raised.
This is the first time in the history of Malawi for a sitting President to interact with media fraternity in an event that attracted journalists from different media houses across the country.–(Additional reporting by Memory Kutengule, Malawi News Agency)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :