According to a statement issued by the National Media Institute of Southern Africa (Namisa) and signed by chairperson Anthony Kasunda to mark World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) celebrated under the theme â€˜New Voices: Media Freedom and Social Changeâ€™, government ought to ensure that all repressive laws are repealed in defence of media freedom and freedom of expression.
Reads the statement: â€œAs we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, MISA Malawi is appealing to the current administration led by Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda to consider making the environment more free to journalists, media workers as well as advocates of media freedom and freedom of expression by considering repealing all laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution such as Section 46 of the Penal Code and other laws that are, in our view, an insult to the media fraternity in Malawi.â€
Namisa also expressed concern over Macraâ€™s denial to grant licences to some media houses that applied for the sameâ€”but without giving any plausible reasons. The media watchdog has since called on the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to exercise transparency in awarding licences.
â€œMacra should also consider expediting the process of scrutinising applications for broadcasting licences to enable more players in the broadcasting sector. In our view, Malawi continues to experience incidents of pirate broadcasting due to delays in granting frequencies in areas where signals for some mainstream broadcasters are not available,â€ reads the Namisa statement.
It also condemns biased reporting and â€œirresponsibleâ€ journalism.
To ensure professionalism, Namisa says it will continue to engage government to promote the countryâ€™s State broadcaster, to turn it into a public broadcaster and address other concerns over unprofessional conduct of reporters under new management.
But Namisa applauded government for spearheading the process of drafting a policy on the Access to Information Bill which, once fine-tuned,Â will be taken to Cabinet and finally Parliament for debate.
Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu could not be reached for comment on the issues rased by Namisa.