Lilongwe — Director of Information Gideon Munthali has urged the media in the country to remain neutral and objective when reporting about the forth coming general elections scheduled for next year.
Speaking on Saturday in Lilongwe when he opened a training on elections reporting for journalists, Munthali said the media has the power to shape people's observation and interpretation of political information during elections.
"The media is very crucial in reporting news and information to the general public. This is the most significant role in a democracy because it empowers citizens to actively participate and make informed decisions," said Munthali.
He, therefore, called on the media to do a thorough and impartial job when informing the public on all electoral and political activities.
Munthali observed that elections pose a special challenge for the media because of the diverse political opinions and positions hence the need for the institution to remain neutral and objective in its quest to properly educate the public.
"Voters need to make informed decisions. It is the duty of the media to provide unbiased coverage to achieve that. It should not favor any candidate or point of view. Therefore, it is government's expectation that the media will adhere to ethics and professional standards during this important process," he said.
Munthali added that government is working hard to ensure that the media operates freely without any impediment and that it participates fully in informing the nation.
He cited the recent participation in the formulation and validation of a strategy to guide the civic and voter education process as one way of creating conditions and space for media participation.
Speaking during the same function, Bwaila Media Club President Wisdom Chimgwede said the club thought of organising the training to equip journalists with necessary reporting skills.
"Quite often, the media - just like the electorate in general elections - is taken up by electoral race forgetting its role of informing the masses.
"We wanted to give them pre-requisite skills for effective reporting of issues that inform the rural masses," Chimgwede said.
The training, which drew participants from central, northern and eastern regions, was conducted with funding from European Union.