World Press Freedom Day: Malawi's media industry is choking

Media Freedom

The media plays a significant role, providing information to the public through its reporting and commentary on events and proceedings in government, private sector and public life.

Despite this monumental role, the industry faces a lot of economic challenges which affects the daily operations of the media and its workers.

This year's, World Press Freedom Day celebrations seek to acknowledge the economic challenges that the media sector is facing by calling for an economic environment that guarantees media viability and strengthens the role of journalism in the production and sharing of information.

"The advertising business model which has been used by the media for a long time has shifted from traditional media to online platforms and the media has been heavily affected by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is happening at the time the public needs quality and reliable information from the media. 

"2021 WPFD also provides an opportunity for the media and other stakeholders to push for accountability and transparency in the operations of online companies or players," observes the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Malawi chapter.

Esther Banda
Banda: presenter, Video-grapher and editor

One of the media practioners Esther Banda, a video-grapher and editor for Mibawa acknowledges the economic challenges.

“Economic challenge is a big one in this industry, we are not taken seriously or treasured. In some companies journalist are underpaid and yet the bosses expect majestic work from us,” she said.

Concurring with Banda another journalist with Radio Maria Luke Chimwaza said the unstable economy associated with effects of Covid-19 pandemic have greatly affected the job market.

Luke Chimwaza
Chimwaza: presenter and writer

“This challenge has made journalist to suffer financially as some media houses could not afford to provide necessities to journalist to ably carry out their job. Last year journalist risked their lives by working in unsafe environments to cover fresh presidential elections amid COVID-19,”  he explained.

The theme for 2021 celebrations is ‘Information as a public good’. The theme is a call for the world to cherish information as a public good by strengthening journalism, ensuring accountability of online platforms and inculcating the culture of media and information literacy for people to recognize the value of journalism in information dissemination.

2021 WPFD also provides an opportunity for the media and other stakeholders to push for accountability and transparency in the operations of online companies or social media platforms.

The activities today will include the traditional Freedom March, a Panel Discussion and MISA Malawi Annual Media Awards Gala Dinner at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel.