Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter chairperson Tereza Ndanga yesterday underscored the need for journalists to adhere to ethical standards.
She made the call during this year’s World Press Fr eedom Day panel discussion held in Blantyre.
This year’s World Press Fr eedom Day coincided with the 30th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration.
Said Ndanga: “Observation has shown that the Media Council of Malawi has been moving at a snail’s pace. It has been quite dormant in the recent years; hence, lack of portrayal of professionalism during reporting and editing news stories. The council ought to reclaim its lost glory.
“It has also been noted that journalists themselves fuel stakeholders to dictate them and even entertain a culture of corruption which is a form of muzzling the press independence and professionalism which somet imes makes it so hard to distinguish between freedom of press and desirable cultural norms.”
However, she expressed delight at certain positive strides the Windhoek Declaration has impacted on media in general for the past 30 years, including minimal attacks on media freedom.
“The Misa Malawi Chapter continuously fought for its journalists by taking issues to court whenever their rights to expression and professionalism are breached; threats or siphoning intended media freedom is being minimised among other strides,” said Ndanga.
On media sustainability a midst Covid – 19 pandemic, she urged the gatekeepers to explore more innovative avenues to nourish and nurture the media and not only being . dependent on advertising agencies. She cited online communication as another step in the right direction.
On this, Ndanga applauded local media houses that have maintained and upheld their workforce while other sec tor s have encountered massive retrenchments as a result of failure to maximise profits on their products and sales to pay employees consistently as before.
State House director of communication Sean Kampondeni reminded journalists to always be accountable to the community they are meant to serve while being ready to accept constructive criticism.
He said all stakeholders need to provide accurate information by, among others , observing thorough checks and audits of what we intend to publish, abiding by all needed procedural requirements to avoid story retractions or even facing unnecessary legal implications