President Lazarus Chakwera has approved a number of initiatives aimed at increasing public access to State residences and interacting with him.
Presidential press secretary Brian Banda said the President’s intention is to do away with the mystery that has been associated with the country’s State residences.
He said: “So we will be opening part of State House where the general public can visit for sightseeing and take pictures. This happens elsewhere like Buckingham Palace [Britain] and the White House [United States of America]. When everything is set, we will let the nation know.”
For a start, Banda said the State House is introducing weekly press briefings at the State House on Mondays, to be officially launched on September 7.
However, the press secretary said the briefings would not be hosted by the President but his directorate of communications and press office teams.
He said: “The idea is to clear out some crucial national issues. However, once in a while the President will be popping in to take a few questions.”
Banda added that State House will launch an annual correspondents’ dinner to be hosted during the commemoration week of World Press Freedom Day.
“In addition, the First Couple will be hosting media managers and owners to either breakfast, luncheon or dinner to discuss matters affecting the industry,” he said.
Last weekend, Banda hosted some Blantyre-based journalists from private media houses to “seek their blessings and professional support”.
Malawi Institute of Journalism Radio head of programmes Innocent Mphongolo described the initiatives as good, but cautioned they should not be a weapon to silence the media.