UK commits to promote media freedom in Malawi


The United Kingdom has said it is committed to promoting media freedom and the protection of journalists in Malawi.

The statement was made on Monday by the British High Commissioner David Beer at the opening of Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ) in Malawi training, Green Media Awards and Annual General Meeting which is being conducted at Crossroads hotel in Lilongwe under the Theme “Ecosystem Restoration: Everyone, Forever”.

Beer said freedom of expression more broadly, is an essential quality of any functioning democracy; and people must be allowed to discuss and debate issues freely, to challenge their governments, and to make decisions, informed by a strong and robust media.

He added that they have also seen the positive impact that the media can have in raising the profile and tackling environmental issues around the globe and Malawi.

“For example, a sustained and high-quality media campaign has been a critical part of a broader effort to tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade. We congratulate Malawi’s remarkable achievements over recent years exemplified in the recent high-profile conviction of the kingpin of one of southern Africa’s most prolific wildlife trafficking syndicates who was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for dealing in rhino horn and money laundering.

“The sentence sends out a clear message to other wildlife criminals plundering Africa’s natural resources that they are not beyond the reach of the law. Environmental journalism will increasingly become more relevant as climate change-related issues begin to affect more and more people,” he explained.

The British Commissioner noted that when the UK took on the COP26 mantle nearly two years ago, only 30% of the world was covered by net zero targets. This figure is now at around 90%. Over the same period, 154 Parties have submitted new national targets, representing 80% of global emissions.

Developed countries also made significant new commitments on climate finance, including for adaptation initiatives in countries like Malawi.

On his part, AEJ President Mathews Malata encouraged the Association’s members to make use of the training so that they can be equipped with skills and knowledge more especially on investigative journalism to uncover the hidden information that is putting the environment at risk.

Malata also commended different organizations that have funded the training, media awards and Annual General Meeting.