Malawians have described as a mockery to journalism the award bestowed on President Peter Mutharika by the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
During the MBC Innovation Awards, the state broadcaster said President Mutharika has been honored with the award for what it claims to be “promoting media freedom in Malawi”.
According to MBC Board Chairperson Reverend Daniel Gunya, the passing of Access to Information bill into law, “is a testimony that President Mutharika is a progressive leader”.
However, seasoned journalists Pililani Semu-Banda said honoring Mutharika with the award was “a disgrace to the journalism fraternity”.
This year’s event is held under the theme: Celebrating Media Freedom in Malawi. The organising committee considering passing of the Access to Information Bill into Law is “a clear testimony that Malawi is enjoying media freedom worth cherishing”.
Ironically, photojournalist Peter Kasengwa was barred from covering the event.
In his speech, President Mutharika said he was “encouraged that MBC has been steadfast in promoting progressive values”.
He described the awards as an innovation.
“MBC has always shown determination in promoting the spirit of innovation in this country. For us as a country to make progress, we need to be innovative.
“We always need to find new ways of solving our problems. As they say, you cannot get new results by doing the same things the same way
“You cannot change your life by doing the same things the same way. Let us be innovative. There is always room for improvement in whatever we do.
“There is always room for improvement – that is why we say the biggest room in the world is room for creativity.
“This MBC program is in itself innovative. It gives us a new perspective of the spirit of innovation. It shows us ordinary people who can do extraordinary things. We come here to see great stories – extraordinary stories from ordinary people”.