The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter, the Media Council of Malawi (MCM) and the Malawi Editors Forum (MAEF) having met in Blantyre on 28th May 2014 and deliberated on the way the media has covered the electoral process so far, and having considered the current impasse, would like to appeal to all journalists and media outlets in the country to uphold professionalism and avoid being used as tools for promoting partisan interests.
The meeting observed that the media strived to respect the Media Code of Conduct which was developed and signed by all media bodies, media houses and other electoral stakeholders during the campaign period.
Nonetheless, we would like to remind all journalists and media houses to avoid the following:
1. Taking partisan positions
2. Sensational reporting
3. Mixing facts with opinion
4. Cheque book journalism
We do not condone professional misconduct and parroting of lies and half-baked stories and believe that we have a critical role to play to accurately inform Malawians without fear or favor.
It is important to note that in any democracy, free speech is paramount and affords the citizenry, including the media, a chance to debate and shape public opinion. But overzealous reporting on the part of the media will not help the nation.
We would therefore like to appeal to all journalists and media houses to remain vigilant and professional in their coverage of the elections.
We would also like to appeal to all Malawians to remain calm and peaceful and support the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to undertake its task without any undue interference.
Anthony Kasunda, MISA Malawi
Prof. Wiseman Chijere Chirwa, Media Council of Malawi
Cliff Kawanga, Malawi Editors Forum