Government says it recognises the important role the media play in interpreting laws and sensitising the public.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Malison Ndau said this in Blantyre on Saturday when he presented awards to media practitioners who have been writing outstanding stories on gender-related laws.
Ndau, who is also government spokesperson, said the awards come at an important time as Malawi joins the world in commemorating 16 days of activism.
He therefore called on the media to take its rightful role sensitising the public to the ills of gender-based violence.
He said: “Government believes in the campaign against gender-based violence and it is important that the media is taking such an important role to educate the public.
“ My ministry recognises that media is the game changer when it comes to issues of gender-based violence and this is also the vision of government to eliminate all forms of [gender-based] violence from both public and private sector.”
The awards were organised by gender-related laws committee of the Non-Governmental Organisation-Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) and the organisation’s vice-chairperson Noel Msiska said the journalists awarded were amongst many who demonstrated knowledge of gender-related laws and used it to bring out real gender-related issues women and girls face in the communities.
He also emphasised the role the media has of changing public perceptions.
He said: “The media shapes public opinion and as a network we appreciate what our colleagues [the media] have demonstrated and this clearly shows the strong link between the media and NGOs.
The awards looked at 3 major categories including the Trafficking in Persons Act and the Gender Equality Act.
One of the awardees whose story was on number 2, Joy Radio’s Esther Nyanja said the award has added more to her passion for reporting on gender.
She recalled how the training provided by NGO-GCN , which birthed the said awards, enlightened her on many issues journalists and the public take for granted that women and girls go through.
She said: “My story for instance captures ladies who were taken from their respective homes to work as housemaids only to realise that they were lied to and ended up selling beer in drinking joints and, worse still, some ended up in prostitution”
Other awardees at the ceremony were Grace Khombe of zodiac at number 1 and Wezzie Nyirongo of Capital radio on number 3.