For immediate release
09th December 2013
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi) Chapter would like to condemn in strongest terms sentiments by a People's Party (PP) official at a presidential function held in Ndirande Township, Blantyre on Sunday. The PP deputy Secretary General, Mrs. Ireen Chikuni, said government should consider withdrawing advertisement from some media houses and also threatened that the party will deal with some journalists who write or broadcast what she called insults to President Joyce Banda.
According to Chikuni, journalists from certain media houses were abusing media by insulting the president on a daily basis.
MISA Malawi does not only find these words disappointing but also retrogressive considering the strides the country has made to entrench the culture of democracy. Elements such as Madam Chikuni, who get excited on a political podium to please their master, are a danger to a democratic Malawi.
Madam Chikuni needs to be reminded that the Republican Constitution guarantees media freedom and freedom of expression in case she has forgotten and that as an organisation, Misa-Malawi will always strive to ensure that media freedom is defended from overzealous politicians such as her.
No amount of intimidation and threats will divert the media in the country from its critical role of being a watchdog for society. People who contest for public positions should be ready and open to public scrutiny. The media in Malawi will not relent in holding those in public offices accountable to the people of Malawi.
MISA Malawi would like to remind Madam Chikuni, and other party zealots who share this type of thinking, that some media houses and practitioners suffered during the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government because they were seen as sympathisers of President Joyce Banda when she was embattled Vice President of the country. It is very unfortunate that the same media houses and practitioners are attacked like this now that Banda is the President.
We would like to appeal to Malawians of goodwill and those that love democracy to join us in condemning Madam Chikuni and the PP for trying to take the country backwards.
If the ruling party does not share Chikuni's sentiments, let it come forward and condemn her and dissociate itself from her words. We also call for the resignation of Madam Chikuni and that if she is not able to do that voluntarily, the party must fire her from the position because her remarks clearly demonstrates that she is not fit for a position of a deputy Secretary General of a ruling party.
MISA MALAWI CHAPTER CHAIRPERSON