Monday, April 22, 2024

MISA Chairperson Matonga applauds Chakwera for media freedom in Malawi


The Chairperson of MISA Malawi, a media body in the country, Golden Matonga, has sincerely thanked the government of Malawi led by President Lazarus Chakwera and all stakeholders for supporting the body’s advocacy on Freedom of Expression, Media Freedom and Access to Information.

“Our work was a success because of your technical and financial support, and broader enabling policy and legal environment,” in part reads the statement.

Further reads the statement:

“2023 was to a large extent positive in building a relationship of trust between the media and government. President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera once again invited the media to a breakfast engagement as part of the celebrations to mark the 2023 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).  The engagement provided a rare opportunity to discuss broader issues affecting the media and what needs to be done to improve the media operating environment.

“As a follow up to the breakfast engagement, State House Communications Team also met MISA Malawi leadership to discuss issues of mutual concern and explore workable ideas to improve the relationship between government and the media. Among others, the meeting looked at how to improve access to the Presidency through the media and also how to ensure a professional and informed media sector to facilitate national development.”

According to MISA Malawi, another key positive development for 2023 was the round table discussions with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) which included a call for review of broadcasting license fees to be in Malawi Kwacha and not the United States Dollar.

“MACRA promised to revisit the legal framework and ensure a conducive environment for broadcasters, the majority of whom are failing to pay the fees and have accumulated arrears,” reads the statement.

Ending the year on a positive note, Matonga said the National Assembly passed the Data Protection Bill, which seeks to provide a regulatory framework for the processing and transfer of personal data.

“We celebrated the passing of the Bill as it means, among others, protection of information/data for Malawians, including journalists and sources of information, from unwarranted access. Data protection is very important in promoting media freedom and freedom of expression, key rights that MISA promotes,” concluded the statement.

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