Tonse administration won't stifle local media, Kazako
Malawi’s Minister of Information says the current leadership is a beneficiary of media freedom as it came to power with promises of a free press and would therefore be the last to stifle the media.
MALAWI: Malawi’s Minister of Information & Digitalization Gospel Kazako says the current leadership is a beneficiary of media freedom as it came to power with promises of a free press and would therefore be the last to stifle the media.
He said this in Lilongwe on Thursday at the end of a panel discussion on the State of Media Freedom in Malawi which was organized by the Media Institute for Southern Africa-MISA Malawi in conjunction with the British Council and Basel Institute of Governance.
The Minister of Information & Digitalization said the current administration believes in decent interaction with the media, and would therefore be the last to meddle in the operations of the press using any laws prevalent in the constitution.
“All I can say is that government will continue to work together with the media, to promote press freedom as the Tonse government is one of the biggest beneficiaries of a free press, (having gotten into government partly courtesy of the goodwill of the media),” said Kazako.
Speaking during the panel discussion, journalists Suzgo Chitete (Nation Publications Limited) and Golden Matonga (Investigative Platform) lamented the use of what they called ‘oppressive and draconian laws’ which they said have no space in a democratic dispensation.
They cited the use of the Protected Flags, Names, and Emblems Act in which some people have been arrested for allegedly publishing content that was deemed to have been insulting to the country’s leadership.
However, the Information Minister said currently no law is being used negatively, as every constitutional provision is being applied based on what it was set up for.
On their part, the Media Council of Malawi-MCM says the organization and other partners have been observing the continued prevalence and silence on the need to review the said laws.
Chairperson of the Council Wisdom Chimgwede said although the current government has done a commendable job with the Access to Information law, the citizenry is still not free to express themselves because of the presence of the said laws.
‘It is a good thing that the current government entered into government on the premise that they will repeal and/or review some of the said oppressive laws, so we still need to keep reminding them to keep their promises,’ said Chimgwede.
He said MCM and its partners will not relent in engaging with the administration so that the laws are either reviewed or repealed.