Press Briefings Should Not be Turned into Political Rallies
MISA Malawi has noted with concern the conduct by some political leaders who hold press briefings in the presence of their political supporters.
MISA Malawi appreciates the openness that several political parties have shown by being proactive in the provision of information. This is why we commend those political leaders who have been open to the media by among others calling for press conferences. These interactions are encouraged especially as we draw close to the May 2019 elections.
We have however noted that some political parties including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and newly registered United Transformation Movement (UTM) have not taken heed of our calls to keep to the confines of a press briefing. They have continued to hold press conferences in the presence of party supporters which creates a hostile environment such that oftentimes journalists are forced to self-censor and limit themselves to asking softer questions. Memories are still fresh of the persecution that journalists who brave such hostile environments have gone through.
Press conferences should be limited to relevant technocrats or officials and people directly responsible for the presser.
MISA Malawi shall in future advise its membership to boycott such press briefings because a guaranteed free environment for the practice of journalism is one of our critical function areas. We also want to ensure the safety of our members.
We would also like to encourage journalists to maintain the zeal and passion for the profession so as to provide Malawians with information that would help them make informed decisions during the May elections.
About MISA Malawi
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi chapter was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.
12 Jan 2019