We announce the Malawi MFC on a day that media around the world celebrate the advances and take stock of the challenges remaining in the spirit of solidarity that unites our profession.
Statement of the Malawi MFC, 3rd May 2021:
SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY
“As Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day, WAN-IFRA would like to announce the birth of Malawi’s Media Freedom Committee (MFC). The establishment of MFC Malawi brings to nine the number of such Committees in Africa and 20 in the world. Malawi joins the MFC family together with new Committees in Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Tanzania.
MFC Malawi comes on the scene on the 30th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration which set the benchmark for ensuring press freedom around the world. It implies an important role for governments, within the firm parameters of freedom, pluralism and independence.
States are implored to be proactive in protecting journalists and advancing opportunities for citizens to exercise freedom of expression and ensuring legal and practical support to sectors such as public service and community media.
These are the values that MFC Malawi seeks to uphold by playing an active role to complement the wonderful work that is already being done by other media bodies in the country and, where necessary, championing causes that are aimed at countering challenges to media freedom in Malawi using its global network.
This year’s WPFD theme, Information as a Public Good, recognises the changing communications system that is impacting on the people’s health, human rights, democracy and sustainable development. We have all been impacted by the raging COVID-19 pandemic and the media has not been spared of its effects.
Apart from taking members of the media fraternity, the pandemic has helped to bring to the fore the power of information. The relentless pursuit of information on how funds meant for the fight against COVID-19 were used has led to the painful reminder of how deep-rooted the culture of merciless plunder of public resources is in the country.
The recent decisive action by government is, therefore, a good starting point to change the course of the country’s governance history and the media has to continue to play a pivotal role in nurturing the new order that most patriotic Malawians have been craving for. Before us is an opportunity that must not be missed.”
WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom Committees are country-wide networks of media professionals and they are local in approach, yet global in scale. Each country Committee brings local media professionals together to find common solutions to the most important media freedom challenges.
Organised on a voluntary basis, each Committee sets its agenda and priorities. The Committees are media-led and offer locally driven solutions for more effective, high impact and long-lasting change.