The United States Government and the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA – Malawi Chapter) on Friday challenged journalists in the country to come up with investigative reports on financial crimes and corruption.
US Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, and MISA – Malawi Vice Chairperson, Yvonne Sundu, made the call at the American Embassy in Lilongwe at the close of five-day Investigative Journalism training the two bodies organized for about 12 journalists drawn from various media institutions.
The training, facilitated by renowned American investigative journalist, Lucinda Fleeson, was aimed at honing the journalists in reporting financial management issues in the country especially in the wake of cash-gate and the subsequent public sector and financial management reforms government instituted.
Palmer said although it was challenging, time-consuming and sometimes dangerous, good investigative reporting – especially related to financial crimes and corruption – was so vitally important in a democratic nation, be it the U.S. or Malawi.
She described the current reforms Malawi Government is instituting as crucial for the country and that the journalists’ continued close attention to the progress would help keep the reforms on track.
“…It is very important to tell a story of how financial crimes and corruption deprive ordinary citizens of the basic services they deserve,” said Palmer, adding, “I have said publicly on various occasions that Malawians should stand up and speak out about what the Public Sector Reforms and Public Financial Management Reforms mean to them, personally.
“For example, what happens to them when clinic officials fail to show up to work on time, or life-saving drugs are stolen from government pharmacies?”
The U.S Ambassador said through good investigative reporting, journalists’ work could magnify the stories and impact on needed changes.
In her remarks, the MISA-Malawi Vice Chairperson concurred with Palmer in stressing the need for thorough reporting in financial crimes and corruption.
Sundu challenged the graduating journalists to prove to the public what they were now capable of doing after the five-day training with the celebrated American investigative journalist, Lucinda Fleeson.
“As change starts with taking the right step in the right direction; that can surely start with us,” said Sundu. “It is our duty and responsibility to initiate that positive step and expose malpractices that limit our ability to move forward as a country.”
The MISA Malawi Vice Chairperson also announced that the institution had partnered with the Centre for Investigative Journalism based in Mzuzu to award excellent investigative journalists during the 2016 Annual MISA Awards.
Sundu said her institution was looking forward to seeing the graduating journalists produce quality investigative stories that would scoop various prizes during this year’s MISA-Malawi’ AGM.
Over the years, the U.S. Embassy in Malawi has sponsored most media activities such as the World Press Freedom Day celebrations and MISA-Malawi Annual General Meetings.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :