The Association of Business Journalists (ABJ) has urged the media in the country to help in the economic recovery process by being positive in their coverage so that the masses are well informed of the current efforts to heal the economy.
Thomas Chafunya, National Coordinator for ABJ was speaking in Blantyre at a start of a two-day media orientation workshop the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development has organised to build capacity and deepen understanding of business reporters of the Economic Planning process, Macroeconomic variables, the Economic Policies such as MGDS 2 and its off-shoot the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
Said Chafunya: “Let us realise that we are Malawians first and journalists later. We must go beyond the interest of the institutions we represent and help to heal our economy by highlighting the positives coming out of the recovery efforts.
This will give encouragement to Malawians that sooner than later we shall see some signs of recovery. We must also take full responsibility of building the nation through accurate reporting and thorough research. This sensitisation training workshop is a stepping stone in acquiring some basic information to guide our work.”
Chafunya also highlighted the need for government to communicate on issues with one voice. He noted that of late, there have been plenty of conflicting messages from government regarding when the ERP for instance, is supposed to be bearing fruits with others saying 18 months and others saying five years.
“We feel there are specific roles for every Malawian must play in the economy recovery process. With the current situation…many Malawians remain in the dark on what specific roles different groups such as farmers, SMEs, big corporations, students and journalist need to play to compliment government’s effort to recover the economy,” said Chafunya.
In his speech Ralph Jooma, Minister of Economic Planning and Development pledged to make information regarding development policies available to the media saying the media plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between government and its people.
“Economic recovery is a process,that is why it can not happen overnight. But if when we look back and where we are now, there has been quite some change,” Jooma told The Nation.