Misa urges journalists to be open to criticism

Theresa Ndanga

Misa-Malawi has urged journalists in the country to be open to criticism as a first step to accountability to citizens.

Misa-Malawi Chairperson, Teresa Ndanga, said the citizens are the bosses hence the need to be accountable to them.

Ndanga made the remarks Wednesday in Mzuzu during an engagement with Nyika Media Club members and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the self-regulation initiative.

Nyika press club members
Nyika press club members

"Sometimes the feeling out their is that the media cannot be criticised or they are not answerable to anyone and therefore they are not accountable to anyone. But the truth of the matter is that we serve the citizens. So they are our bosses and we need to be accountable to them.

"Therefore, we need to demonstrate that we are capable of ensuring that the standards and ethics are being followed to the core, and complaints are  addressed," said Ndanga. 

She then banked hope on self-regulation initiative her organisation is championing that it will help to address issues of  unprofessionalism among others in the media. 

"Through self-regulation it is very easy for us to mantain cordial relationship between the people we are saving and  the media itself that we are able to address  disagreements and misunderstandings. But in the end we still remain cordial in the way that we approach or work together with each other," she said.

On journalism practice in Malawi, Ndanga also urged the media practitioners to do more on investigative pieces as well as consider specialisation for in-depth coverage of stories. 

In his remarks, Nyika Media Club Chairperson, Joseph Mwale, while accepting that self-regulation is possible, said the challenge will still remain with citizen journalists who post anything on social media.

"Even if the professional journalists can embrace the self-regulation initiative, the challenge will be those people posing as journalists who post anything on social media. These are the people that are denting our noble profession. Let's also look at ways to address this issue because even though we have Cyber Security Act, but we still have such cases," said Mwale.

One of the CSO representative who attended the meeting, Happy Mhango, described the interface on self-regulation as timely and progressive in the promotion of accurate information.

"If this self-regulation is really entrenched and institutionalised we are going to have a good media in this country," said Mhango.

Meanwhile, Media Council of Malawi (MCM) , Moses Kaufa, said they are already engaging the relevant stakeholders to change the 2016 Communications Act to incorporate MCM and self regulation to improve the journalists professionalism.