The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi) has expressed its concern on the remarks made by President Peter Mutharika against the media during a press conference he conducted to address the public on his trip to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States of America.
The media body was reacting to Mutharika’s outbursts at the press conference where he described the media in Malawi as “irresponsible” and “agents of the opposition” after they questioned the president’s trip to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The media criticized Mutharika over his decision to take a bloated entourage and to hire a private jet amidst the economic woes that Malawians are going through.
In a statement signed by MISA Malawi Chairperson Thom Khanje, the media body faulted the president for attacking journalists saying the media has a duty to report on matters of national importance.
“We find the remarks by the President and his press secretary retrogressive and a threat to media freedom and freedom of expression. We are surprised that the president decided to target the media with unreasonable attacks instead of responding to the issues at hand and providing information Malawians are looking for regarding the trip to the UNGA,” reads part of the statement.
Misa Malawi also said the president’s trip to the UNGA was funded by tax-payers and Malawians have every right to know how their money is being spent by those charged with the responsibility of managing the resources.
“We appeal to the State President to always be transparent and accountable as he discharges his duties. He should also respect the role of the media in providing checks and balances on his government,” said MISA Malawi in the statement.
*Additional reporting by McMillan Mhone.