May 22nd, 2018: The UN Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres has urged media houses to encourage conflict-sensitive journalism, saying this will help promote peace and democracy in Malawi as the country gears up for Tripartite Elections in May 2019.
Torres said this on 18th May in Blantyre when she visited Times Group, Nation Publications and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for the first time since commencement of her mission to Malawi in January this year.
“In being professional and presenting balanced and impartial news, the media helps to reduce tensions, promote social cohesion and enable people to make informed decisions during elections. We look up to you as a key partner in promoting a peaceful electoral process through conflict sensitive reporting,” said Torres.
She further urged the media to ensure people with disabilities and women are not left behind in the electoral process, saying reaching them with election messages will enable their participation in the elections.
Torres recognised that the media in Malawi is a key player in promoting accountability and transparency through its investigative journalism which exposes the society’s ills such as corruption.
“The media in Malawi has also been key to promoting human rights, including freedom of expression and opinion as well as many other rights relating to development, education and health,” she said.
Times Group’s Editor-In-Chief George Kasakula said their media house will ensure no one is left out in electoral messages in its coverage.
Nation Publications Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alfred Ntonga also said their media house will embark on an editorial project to support women participation in elections.
On his part, MBC’s Director General Aubrey Sumbuleta said the public broadcaster needs improved capacity for its journalists to cover the elections comprehensively and in a manner that levels the ground for all key stakeholders in the electoral process.