The Media Council of Malawi has asked government to ensure maximum protection for journalists who will be at Kamuzu International Airport during the arrival of President Peter Mutharika from United States of America.
Amid overstaying of Mutharika in USA, local mdia houses had to counter argue with government and according to Media Council of Malawi this can trigger negative attitudes of government towards local media houses.
According to the statement, over the past two weeks the general public, perhaps led and fueled by the media, expressed concern on information blackout regarding the State President’s prolonged stay in the United States where he went to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The statement added that some of those that expressed concern or spoke on the matter argued that the extra costs government was incurring to maintain the president’s continued stay in the United States would hurt more the already fragile economy.
“Rumors were also rife in the social media and in other forums that the president was probably feeling unwell, hence the information blackout. This naturally raised concern and unnecessary anxiety among well-meaning Malawians,” reads part of the statement signed by MCM Executive Director Vales Machila.
“Government did not help matters by not coming clear on the issue (when the need arose) to give immediate response and also to clarify the position on these rumors, ” the statement added.
MCM has since appealed to the police and those arranging the program for the President’s arrival and welcome at the airport to ensure that the media is given adequate protection at the airport.
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“It is obvious that some of the stories carried by the media may not have been pleasing to some sections of the general public, who may want to get even against those concerned,” reads the statement.
“The airport, during the state president’s arrival, provides such opportunity for the aggrieved zealots Of course, immediately he alights from the aircraft, we expect the president to make brief statement to the nation about his visit,” added the statement.
Media Council of Malawi is however expecting that the president is to meet the press and answer their questions in an enclosed room away from party zealots.
Mutharika is expected to land at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe this afternoon.