By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
President Lazarus Chakwera who on Wednesday, 3rd May, 2023 hosted Media Practitioners for a breakfast at Kamuzu Palace as part of commemorating the World Press Freedom Day, has said the recognition of freedom of expression and freedom of press remains crucial in ensuring a free and democratic society.
Chakwera told the media gathering that freedom of expression and freedom of press must not among others be abused or corrupt but be promotes and protected as a driver of media ability towards promotion and protection of all other human freedoms and rights.
“So I want to assure you today that has long as I am President, I will continue to fulfill the oath that I took to uphold the Constitution of this our Republic in which are enshrined all the freedoms and the rights we enjoy, and my administration will continue to promote and protect freedom of expression because this is the driver of your ability as free press to promote and protect all our freedoms and rights.” Said President Chakwera.
Making his remarks, Minister of Information and digitalization, Moses Kumkuyu said the gathering singled out the commitment by President Chakwera and his administration towards Media freedom in the country.
Said Kunkuyu; “Our gathering this morning in this room is a clear testimony of you government’s continued commitment towards ensuring that the media in Malawi operate freely and independently without any undue political and government interference.”
Kunkuyu then assured the Media practitioners that his ministry will continue to engage them whenever necessary to get solutions together, describing media as the fourth arm of the government.
On her part, MISA Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga thanked President Chakwera for legislative milestone in the past 12 months, saying some amendments made to the Constitution have been a great victory for media freedom. However Ndanga appealed for more repeal on other laws.
She further thanked the President for extending his invitation to the media for World Press Freedom Day breakfast at the State House, saying it signifies Chakwera’s commitment to celebrate and uphold media freedom and freedom of expression in Malawi.
“The breakfast engagement provides opportunity for us to share with you the developments of the sector.
Economic challenges that the country is experiencing have hit our sector hard. The advertising levels have drastically gone down, thereby crippling the operations of the media.” Said Ndanga.
She then took advantage of her speech to bid farewell to the media fraternity as her term of office goes to an end as MISA Malawi chairperson before introducing Wonder Msiska and Golden Matonga who are contesting for the position.
During the event, State House Press Secretary, Anthony Kasunda said the invitation by President Chakwera reaffirmed his commitment and unwavering support towards a free press.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day has been commemorated under the theme “Shaping a future of rights; freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights.”