The Media Institute of Southern Africa in Malawi says is greatly disturbed by the manner in which President Joyce Banda’s news conference was held at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Wednesday on her arrival from New York, the United States of America.
“The environment in which the news conference was held was not conducive and friendly for journalists to ask pertinent questions that would benefit Malawians who have been waiting to hear from the President on a number of issues that have happened while she was away,” said Misa in a statement signed by country chairperson, Anthony Kasunda.
Misa Malawi said it was clear to that the presence of the large number of cabinet ministers, party officials and supporters was to intimidate the media as it was apparent that the issue of Capital Hill looting of public funds would dominate the news conference.
Said Kasunda: “The way the President handled the few questions that were allowed also left a lot to be desired as she was interjecting when journalists were asking questions instead of letting them finish the questions. This also gave an opportunity to party supporters to disrupt the flow of questions.
By cheering and clapping when the President was answering questions, party cadres disturbed the normal flow of information as journalists who were supposed to pay attention were being disturbed”.
Misa Malawi condemns the conduct of party supporters also it is likely to instill fear in journalists.
“In a nutshell, the news conference at Sanjika Palace fell short of meeting the standards of a normal news conference. We believe the President lost an opportunity to answer pertinent questions which could be beneficial to Malawians who have waited anxiously to hear from her on how she intends to deal with the rampant stealing going on in government.