MISA Malawi has called on community radio stations to step up messages on the importance of following Covid-19 preventive measures and getting vaccinated.
MISA Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga made the appeal during media self-regulation orientation meeting for media outlets based in the eastern part of Malawi on July 24, 2021.
The call comes at a time Malawi continues to register increased Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths in the third wave of the pandemic.
“Most of community radio stations are operating in areas where people are reluctant to follow preventive measures, getting vaccinated and are exposed to misinformation around the pandemic. It is the responsibility of community radio stations to reach out to such people with accurate information about Covid -19 and encourage them to get vaccinated,” Ndanga said.
The Chairperson also said journalists and media houses should continue following all Covid-19 prevention guidelines.
She said community radio stations must be in the forefront in the fight against misinformation as people in the communities where such stations operate have the sense of closeness, ownership and believe what the stations air.
Many people in semi-urban and rural Malawi shunned Covid-19 vaccine due to misconceptions and misinformation around the vaccines.
Most media houses in Malawi are already engaged in the spreading of accurate information about the pandemic.
In partnership with DW Akademie, MISA Malawi is currently running a campaign dubbed Only Spreading Facts, an initiative meant to encourage the spread of accurate information about Covid-19.
In the campaign, MISA Malawi is also distributing branded face masks, signifying the importance of masks in the fight against the pandemic.
The Chapter is planning Covid-19 press briefings to ensure that the media and Malawians get expert information on the pandemic.
As of Tuesday, July 27, 2021, Malawi had cumulatively registered 49, 752 cases and 1, 540 deaths with some media reports indicating that the numbers may even be higher than officially recorded.