The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has called for continued professionalism among journaliststo avoid being manipulated by individuals seeking to achieve selfish ambitions.
MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale made the call in Lilongwe yesterday during a media review meeting for the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election.
The day-long meeting was aimed at reflecting and reviewing how the media performed during the May 2019 and June 23 2020 elections.
He said the media helped educate the public and mobilised them to take an active role in elections, which helped the electoral body to communicate its messages to the masses with relative ease.
Said Kachale: “Whilst we cherish your positive contribution to the growth of democracy in the country, we should continue to be on the lookout for any attempts to swerve the media from its right course and degenerate into playing a role that has been seen in other jurisdictions where the media has been perverted to actually perpetrate discord.
“We must strengthen the safeguards and one way of doing that is by ensuring that the media are always reminded of their role during critical times, especially elections.”
He urged the media managers to remain vigilant and ensure that their work is not being manipulated to promote the ambitions of the selfish few who may have access and control over media institutions.
“You need to always be thinking of a greater good to the society and be sensitive to the conflict triggers that may arise in the course of your reporting,” said the MEC chairperson.
One of the participants, Gregory Gondwe of the Platform for Investigative Journalism, said the meeting was critical because it helped journalists to reflect on their performance during the key elections.
“We needed this meeting because it gives us something to think about when covering future elections. The meeting was also meant to examine the media conduct and monitoring toolkit,” he said.
The need to curb fake news and bridge the gender equality gap dominated the day long media conference that brought together editors, station managers and various stakeholders from mainstream journalism. There was also a report on media monitoring and implementation of the media code of conduct and monitoring toolkit.