Blantyre — The ruling People's Party (PP) has been ranked the top most political party that has enjoyed massive coverage by media houses in the country for the past two weeks. This is according to the first findings of the media monitoring project released on Friday covering the period from 22nd March to 2nd April, 2014.
The Media Monitoring Project was established by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi in collaboration with Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and other partners. The aim of the media monitoring project among others is to assess the fair coverage of the elections and determine the extent of electoral stories.
"Let me say that the People's Party (PP) got the highest coverage followed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the media did not give chance to small political parties, this is a sad development during elections.
"We had to monitor 863 items from all media houses including their websites and facebook groups such as my Malawi my view. We are focussing only on news items," said Chancellor College based Professor, Edrinnie Kayambazinthu who presented the findings.
During the presentation of the findings it was noted that the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Malawi News Agency (Mana) online are biased towards the ruling People's Party by giving positive coverage while Television coverage of MBC TV and Times TV were neutral.
It was noted that radio stations like Capital Fm, Star Radio and Joy radio gave negative coverage to People's Party and positive coverage to other political parties.
The findings have revealed that all outlets gave significant coverage to presidential candidates leaving out parliamentary and local government elections.
Media Institute of Southern Africa Chairperson, Anthony Kasunda said it is a pity that reporters are sidelining parliamentary and local government elections noting that it is a sad development.
Kasunda said reporters should write more about local government elections in order to empower local District Councils.
"Firstly, it is a pity that state broadcaster is not changing with time to offer equitable coverage to all political parties. We shall continue to engage them to see how best we can go about it.
"My appeal is as one way of empowering local assemblies lets write more about councillors since it has been observed that local government elections are suffering," said Kasunda.