Lilongwe — Media houses in the country have formed a task force that aims at developing mechanisms on how best the media can coordinate, handle and deliver messages on the rumor of blood suckers which has hit the country hard.
The formation of the task force followed a meeting Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi had with broadcasters at Macra House in Blantyre. The meeting was aimed at discussing how best the media can produce the right content with regard to the issue of blood suckers.
The newly formed taskforce has Pilirani Kachinziri (from Times) as its chairperson and Deus Sandram from Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) Radio as the vice chair.
Vincent Khonyongwa from MBC is the secretary with Emmanuel Maliro of Zodiak Broadcasting Services (ZBS) and Timothy Kateta of Capital FM as committee members.
The Ministry of ICT and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) will be ex-officio members.
"I am happy that we have resolved to work together so that any message relayed to the people should be a message of hope.
"We have appealed to media managers that any statement that comes out should be a measured statement that will instill the spirit that Malawi is a peaceful and God fearing country," Dausi said.
The minister said the media has the power of getting to the bottom of the rumors and establish the truth by exposing those claiming to be victims of the blood suckers.
"The issue still remains a rumor because there is no concrete evidence of anyone being caught sucking blood anywhere in the country.
"We have asked media managers to follow up on anyone claiming to be a victim of blood suckers. They can even take them for medical examination so that anyone who is being deceitful about it should be exposed," he said.
Dausi said it was unfortunate that some people are still taking the law into their hands by murdering people suspected to be involved in blood sucking.
He warned that everyone involved in the mob justice will face the laws of the land.
"Those who have perpetrated and peddled the rumor of blood sucking will be answerable. And all those who have killed innocent lives masquerading that they are killing an alleged blood sucker, while the issue is not even there; must be brought to book for murder," Dausi said.
Current reports in the country indicate that some people in the affected areas are forming security forums, which are moving around at night and also setting up roadblocks with an intention of searching for alleged blood suckers.
This has left some innocent people being victimized. Dausi said no one is by law allowed to set up a roadblock apart from the police.
"The police should abolish all set ups that are forming unnecessary community roadblocks to avoid killing innocent people at the pretext of blood suckers," he said.
Some of the people who attended the meeting are the Director of Information Gedion Munthali, Macra Deputy Director General Francis Bisika and Macra Director of Broadcasting Fegus Lipenga.
In his remarks, Lipenga said Macra decided to facilitate the broadcasters' interface in its capacity as a regulator and in realization that broadcasters play a big role in agenda setting.