The out-going Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Lin Songtia has been awarded the Distinguished Media Relations Award (DMRA). The Bwaila Press Club (BMC) said Songtian's contribution to media development in the country deserved such high recognition.
During a farewell party hosted in honour of the ambassador who lives Malawi next August, the club emphasized that for the past two years the ambassador has been in the country, there was an enhanced and open-door media policy between China and the Malawian media.
"About 30 of our media colleagues have been to China on scholarships. About 20 more are expected before the end of the year. We see this plus the readiness to accept and respond to the local media's working strides as a great step in the promotion of the media in Malawi," said M'theto Lungu, BMC chairperson.
The DMRA, added Lungu at the function mainly made up of the country's media personnel based in the capital city, Lilongwe, is an annual recognition for eminent and other outstanding Malawians who have cultivated a professional and friendly media relations with Malawi's journalism.
"As we also aim at promoting transparency and accountability within our media circles, we wish to use the award as a measure for outstanding and excellence between ourselves and our audience. Grassroots people who also endear their socio-economic ventures will form part of beneficiaries of the DMRA," he explained.
Songtian himself said he was grateful for the recognition and that it shall go a long way in reminding him of the important role the Malawi media has played in opening up his country's policy and development endevours in Malawi, Africa and the world at large.
"Mostly, both China and Africa are reported in the negative in the western press. The cordial relations that exist between my embassy and my country with the Malawi media has helped to show the world that China is an equal and important friend in development.
“We humbly contribute to the global economy and come in to assist our friends in Africa and beyond. We may have different approaches but both Malawi's traditional and new friends are important. We all need to come in and assist, learn and contribute to the development of all our friends. It is no competition," he told the journalists.
The DMRA was presented to Songtian by the Media Council of Malawi's (MCM) executive director, Baldwin Chiyamwaka, who gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the BMC.
"We are grateful for China's contribution to the development of the media in Malawi. With this award, we want to wish you a great end to your mission in Malawi and also to make it a constant reminder to your Excellency that we embrace and enjoyed the relationship that you cultivated with us.
"Your door was always open to journalists and you made it a worthwhile to contribute to train some of our colleagues in your country. Indeed, you will remain a good friend in deed," said Chiyamwaka.