Democratic Progressive Party followers will not be allowed to attend Malawi President Peter Mutharika’s press conferences when he is departing for a foreign trip and upon arrival.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education, Kondwani Nankhumwa, disclosed this on Friday when he was delivering a statement on the status of the Access to Information Bill.
“Whenever the President is addressing members of the press, only members of the press should be present,” said Nankhumwa, adding that President Mutharika will be having an interface with the media every three months.
He further said his party is eager to separate party and government activities in all aspects.
On the other hand, Nankhumwa said that even with the Access to Information Law in place, it would be practically impossible for all journalists to enter the State House for interviews.
When asked by Balaka North MP and leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the House, Lucius Banda, to clarify on where members of the press would lodge their complaints once harassed by “overzealous party supporters”, Nankhumwa pledged that he would personally be eager to assist.
Nankhumwa also said the Access to Information Bill will be tabled in the House in the next sitting.
Once assented to, the bill will also give an opportunity to local Malawians to seek information from different government departments.
“Malawians will go to District Assemblies to find out how things like the Local Development Fund have been used. [The Access to Information Bill] is a cross-cutting bill,” said Nankhumwa.
Journalists in the country have been booed at presidential press briefings by ruling party supporters especially when they are deemed to have asked questions that cause some discomfort to the ruling officials.