Nation Publications Limited (NPL) collectively won 20 awards out of a possible 27 at this year’s Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter annual gala to commemorate World Press Freedom Day.
During the awards ceremony at Sunbird Mount Soche, NPL was named the Best Print Media House and also won the Best Electronic Media House-Online for its Nation Online (www.mwnation.com).
Times Group, which won the Best Print Media House in 2016 and 2017, retained the Best Electronic Media House-Television while Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) maintained its tight grip on Best Electronic Media House-Radio category.
Times Group journalist Rebecca Chimjeka, who switched from NPL last year, was awarded the journalist of the year accolade for her investigative story titled Suspicious Funding to selected constituencies which exposed the K4 billion allocation to initially 86 legislators affiliated to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its allies.
NPL deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga was presented, albeit in absentia, the Lifetime Achiever Award for his contribution to the media by grooming journalists, both young and old.
In the citation, the judges said Ntonga also deserved the award as one of the first editors in the transition from single-party to multiparty and has seen NPL—established in 1993 and today publishes The Nation, Weekend Nation, Nation on Sunday, Fuko and Nation Online—grow while other newspapers born during the transition in 1992-94 folded. They said whereas others left the profession, Ntonga has carried on.
Ntonga becomes a third member of the NPL family to be honoured with the Lifetime Achiever Award after chief executive officer Mbumba Banda in 2012 and former managing editor Edward Chitsulo who was awarded post-humously in 2015. Chitsulo died in March 2015.
In 2007, veteran politician and NPL founder Aleke Banda was awarded the Misa Press Freedom Award for his contribution to media freedom and development in the country. The award was an accolade of honour bestowed on individuals or institutions with attributes of excellence in journalism.
Reacting to his award, Ntonga expressed gratitude, saying it came as a surprise as he did not expect to win such a prestigious award.
He said: “Frankly speaking, I did not expect it. I am humbled. I know that most of my work nowadays I do is behind the stage unlike writing stories, editing stories. Most of the time, people don’t see my work. But to have younger journalists of today, giving me recognition of that kind is a great honour to me. I do appreciate.”
Commenting on NPL’s triumph in media house awards as well as leading the pack in overall individual awards, Ntonga attributed the success to teamwork.
He assured NPL readers and advertisers that the award will not make NPL feel contented but, will strive to give out its best in the year 2018 and beyond.
Ntonga also advised journalists in the country to adhere to media ethics and desist from corruption, saying: “Under no circumstance should corruption be tolerated in journalism [because] it dilutes what we do because we are out there to serve as the watchdog to the society.”
NPL was named the Best Print Media House for investing in investigative journalism and promoting education for its employees by allowing them to upgrade both at local and international level.
In the individual awards, NPL journalists won 18 awards (see full list in the table).
Chief judge for the 2018 awards Lewis Msasa said there were 504 entries in the competition for both print and electronic categories.
Besides Msasa, other judges were Jacob Jimu, Owen Kadewere, Dr. Sydney Kankuzi, Upile Muhariwa, Henry Chimbali and Rabecca Phwitiko.
MISA Malawi 2018 awards
1. Investigative Journalism: Wanangwa Chafulumira (Electronic) and Rebecca Chimjeka (Print) Times
2. Human Rights Reporting: James Chavula (Print) NPL and Hudson Bisani (Electronic) ZBS
3. Democracy and Good Governance: Rex Chikoko (Print) NPL and Alick Ponje (Electronic) Times
4. Business and Economic: Ntchindi Meki (Print) NPL and George Lumwila (Electronic) MIJ FM
5. Chichewa: Precious Msosa (Print) Mkwaso newspaper, Montofrt Media
6. Sports: Mphatso Malidadi (Print) Times
7. Education Reporting: Joseph Mwale (Print) NPL and William Mwale (Electronic) Times
8. Safety and Security Reporting: James Chavula (Print) NPL and Thomas Kachere (Electronic) MIJ FM
9. Best Photojournalist: Bobby Kabango (NPL)
10. Water and Sanitation Reporting: Rebecca Chimjeka (Print) Times and Steve Zimba (Electronic) ZBS
11. Arts: Sam Chunga (Print) NPL and Tadala Kaledzera (Electronic) ZBS
12. Farm Radio: Serah Makondetsa (Times)
13. ICT Reporting: Yamikani Yapuwa (Print) Malawi News Agency published in The Nation and Thomas Kachere (Electronic) MIJ FM
14. US Embassy/Misa Blogger of the Year: Golden Matonga (NPL)
15. Best Radio Talk Show Host: Brian Banda—Times
16. Raphael Tenthani Columnist of the Year: Golden Matonga (NPL)
17. Health Research Reporting: Suzgo Chitete (Print) NPL and Masozi Kasambara (Electronic) ZBS
18. Sustainable Development Goals Reporting: Albert Sharra (Print) NPL and Thomas Kachere (Electronic) MIJ FM
19. Tourism Reporting: Joseph Mwale (Print) NPL and Sophie Gomani (Electronic) ZBS
20. Humanitarian Reporting: Steve Mgweneza (Print) Freelancer and Chimwemwe Mangazi (Electronic) Times Group
21. Supply Chain Medicine Reporting: Suzgo Chitete (Print) NPL and Innocent Kunchedwa (Electronic) Maziko Radio
22. Hennox Mazengera Financial Journalist of the Year: Suzgo Chitete (Print) NPL and Innocent Kumchedwa (Electronic) Maziko Radio
23. Paediatric, Adolescence and HIV and Aids Reporting: James Chavula (Print) NPL and Japhet Thole (Electronic) MIJ FM
24. Red Ribbon: Kondwani Kamiyala (Print) NPL and Hastings Jimani (Electronic) ZBS
25. Infrastructure Reporting: Joseph Mwale (Print) NPL and Alick Ponje (Electronic) Times
26. Overall Winner: Rebecca Chimjeka—Times
27. Lifetime Achiever: Alfred Ntonga (NPL)
28. Best Community Radio of the Year: Maziko
29. Electronic Media House of the Year-Online: Nation Online
30. Electronic Media House of the Year-Radio: ZBS
31. Electronic Media House of the Year-Television: Times
32. Best Print Media House of the Year: NPL