New media facing challenges in Malawi

The commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day in Malawi has exposed that the new media in Malawi still faces a lot of challenges to effectively benefit all Malawians and contribute to the development of the country.

This was exposed on Saturdday in Lilongwe during a media debate held under the theme New Media and National Development: Opportunities and Challenges for Malawi at the Silver club conference hall.

The debate featured five panellists; Blantyre Newspapers Limited online editor Arnold Chachacha Munthali, Blogger Steve Sharra, Chief Information Officer John Mchilikizo, Joel Suzi from civil society and Catherine Chaweza from the National Commission of Science and Technology.

It was revealed that less than a million people in Malawi, out of about a total population of 14 million, have access to Internet and that up to now, most government offices still have no Internet service. It also exposed that new media is favouring males as opposed to females.

The debate also exposed that many people are ignorant of proper ways of using the new media. Issues cited include misinforming the nation on some issues through Facebook and websites and also harassing other people.

In his speech, guest of honour Germany Ambassador to Malawi Peter Woeste said the new media is challenged by the political status of any country and that it is always difficult for anyone in politics to accept free media. He, however, asked journalists to be professional and concentrate in deep investigative journalism.

Before the debate, journalists from across the country marched from Lilongwe Post Office through Paul Kagame Highway to Silver Stadium. The World Press Freedom Day is commemorated on May 3 every year.

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