Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu has indicated that Malawi President Joyce Banda may soon sign the Declaration of Table Mountain, making a U-turn on the President’s earlier decision.
President Banda late last month (April) declined to make commitment to sign to the repeal of insult laws, a decision that riled the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter.
Misa Malawi Chapter wanted President Banda to sign the declaration as part of the 2013 celebrations to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Kunkuyu, who was guest of honour at the Misa Malawi gala dinner on Saturday, said the President might sign the declaration soon.
Earlier in the day, Misa Malawi Chapter petitioned President Banda to reconsider her position on the issue. The President was also called upon to treat news conferences as such and not party rallies.
Misa Malawi Chapter chairperson Anthony Kasunda said Misa Malawi Chapter also desires to see MBC serving interests of all Malawians and appealed for a speedy process of enacting the Access to Information law.
Kunkuyu assured Misa Malawi Chapter that government will continue to transform MBC.
Kasunda also rapped Kunkuyu that President Banda and her deputy Khumbo Kachali refused to meet a special rapporteur despite that she had already sent a request to meet the President.
“To us, declining to sign this declaration is a lost opportunity and a retrogressive move in our quest to entrench democracy in the country,” said Kasunda.
Meanwhile, the UN resident coordinator Mahimbo Mdoe has committed to supporting the media and government in their efforts to ensure transparency and accountability.
Mdoe said freedom of the press and freedom of expression, like the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are thebenchmarks of society and its democratic progress.
“Our engagement with the media reflects a firm belief in their crucial role in supporting Malawi’s democratic growth, in particular promoting transparency and accountability. The media offers a window for a nation’s people to be informed about its own society,” said Mdoe.
Airtel Malawi information technology director Dr. Matthews Mtumbuka urged the media to operate within the codes that govern the profession; report on matters impartially with the aim of disseminating the truth at all times in order to empower society with facts.
“Be fully accountable for any matter that you report on. Validate your sources of information, be mindful of the likely implications that matters you report on will have on other people and be ready to defend your stand.”