The Centre for Social Research (CfSR) of the University of Malawi, the local chapter of the pollster Afrobarometer, has urged the media in Malawi to conduct opinion polls that are grounded in science to achieve credibility.
CSR research fellow Dr Maxton Tsoka said this in Blantyre on Friday on the sidelines of a one-day symposium on public opinion polling and reporting.
“We noticed that most media houses were doing some sort of opinion polls in Malawi, but there are issues with the way they collect and report the data, so we organised this meeting to interface with the media to share with them a few things.
“The media is like an arrow and shapes public opinion and as such their polls need to be scientific because opinion polls are very important though some people might try to ignore them,” said Tsoka.
Afrobarometer outreach director Kathleen Addy, who also made a presentation at the workshop, said opinion polls are the voice of the citizenry, especially with the advent of the social media.
Addy called for closer cooperation between the media and research institutions.
“The media needs credible information and research institutions need outlets for their research; as such, there should be a mutually beneficial relationship between the two institutions,” she said.
Addy said Afrobarometer conducts important research, which can enrich stories and offer technical support to media organisations that want to make their surveys credible.
Afrobarometer is a research project that measures public attitudes on economic, political and social issues in sub-Saharan Africa.