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MISA Malawi calls for free media ahead of 2025 Malawi elections

Malawi WPFD2024
3 May, 2024
It is our wish to see the arrest and prosecution of politicians and supporters who attack journalists

MISA Malawi joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) today with a call for the government, political parties and electoral candidates to ensure free and independent media ahead of September 16 2025 tripartite elections.

May 3 each year is celebrated as WPFD and this day offers an opportunity for stakeholders to renew their commitment to media freedom.

In 2024, the global theme is, ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis’, focusing on the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of global environmental crisis. This theme is a reminder that the world needs relevant and credible information to mitigate the impact of the prevailing environmental crisis.

Locally, the theme is, ‘Guardians of Democracy: Championing Media Independence for Credible Elections’ to cast the spotlight on the importance of a free and independent media to ensure free, fair and credible elections, sustainable development and democracy.

The attacks on journalists and the blatant compromise on the independence of some media outlets in the past general elections are a testament of how vulnerable journalists and the media can be in times of elections.

We therefore believe this day is an opportunity for us to engage the state to perform its mandate of providing security to the citizenry, including journalists, to ensure that the political environment in the run up to 2025 elections is conducive for the media to operate without fear or any unwarranted hindrances. It is our wish to see the arrest and prosecution of politicians and supporters who attack journalists.

Supporters of political parties or electoral candidates top the list of perpetrators of attacks on journalists during elections. In 2019 tripartite elections and 2020 fresh presidential elections, we registered six cases of attacks on journalists covering elections and five of those attacks were perpetrated by party supporters. We therefore ask political parties and candidates to tame their supporters and ensure that the media is operating in a free and independent space.

MISA Malawi would also like to advise journalists and media outlets, including the public broadcaster, to provide opportunity for coverage to all candidates regardless of political party or status. Malawians expect to hear policy promises from all candidates and the media is supposed to be a fair and free platform for everyone contesting in an election.

It is also important for the media to ensure that information is always verified before publishing as election period is littered with misinformation, disinformation and hate speech from all sides of the political divide.

We wish you all a happy World Press Freedom Day!

Media contacts

MISA Malawi Chairperson Golden Matonga

Cell: +265 99 616 9705 or email goldenmatonga@gmail.com  

MISA Malawi National Director Aubrey Chikungwa

Cell: +265 999 327 311 or email info@misamalawi.org  

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. 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.

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